Wanderback American Single Malt Batch No. 1

American Single Malt — Washington (aged in Oregon), USA

4.25 out of 5 stars
How I love the whiskey rabbit hole!  Recently, @dubz480 recommended Rua American Single Malt, and never one to ignore his rock solid endorsements (I have a growing collection of Barrell to show for it, along with Del Bac and a few other gem), I immediately commenced with research.   Great Wagon Road Distillery's web site (the makers of Rua) has a "Buy Online" link that routes to  New to me, Seelbach's is dedicated to offering spirits (mostly whiskey) from craft distillers from across the US.   Awesome. I looked through all of Seelbach's listing and researched every one I was unfamiliar with, one of which was Wanderback.  Seelbachs had three Wanderback batches for sale.   Wanderback is not a distillery.  The founder, Phil Downer, developed his own mashbill, sourced the grains from local farmers, and partnered with established distilleries to produce the whiskey.  Westland apparently distilled Batch 1.  The whiskey is then aged at Wanderback's warehouse (a converted barn) in Hood River, OR.  Each release is a limited run of 2000-2500 bottles.  The scant few Wanderbach reviews I found were glowing, and I was intrigued.  Plus, Seelbach's has a discount for purchasing all three batches together.  Sold!   First up, Batch 1.  It's 90 proof, 88% pale malt, 8% crystal malt, 2% chocolate malt, and 2% Munich malt, and aged for a minimum of 3 years. 2200 bottles were released. The nose has some smoke, malt, and lots of toffee.  The palate is toffee that transitions to mild dark chocolate, some anise and spice, and a sweet fruity note that's not citrus, berry or dark fruits.  The tasting notes on the bottle list star fruit, which seems about right.  The finish is long, with the dark chocolate taking center stage. According to Wanderback, the Hood River experiences significant temperature swings.  While there's some youthfulness present, it's well moderated.  The nose is very pleasant, and the flavors on the palate are strong and bold.  Overall, an excellent American single malt.   Batch 2 uses the same mashbill, is aged four years, and is finished in ex-rum and ex-bourbon casks.  Batch 3 is aged five years and finished in ex-port casks.  I can't wait to try both.  And of course, I ordered the Rua as well.  I've been disciplined recently with my bottle  openings, but I'm about to be put to the test...