By Father John Rayls
Painted Stave Distilling very generously furnished a full size bottle of their Diamond State Straight Bourbon Whiskey for this review. It’s 2 years old and bottled at 92 proof. This second batch from the fairly new distillery was just released this month and represents a four fold increase in number of filled bottles produced. The aging process is done in 10 gallon barrels to theoretically speed the aging in flavor and color with more direct oak contact per volume of new distilled whiskey. The mash bill is considered a high rye example with 65% corn, 26% rye and 9% malted barley. Over the fall of 2011, Painted Stave Distilling was formed over what was originally known as Legacy Distilling but changed in the winter of 2013. Ron Gomes, Jr. and Mike Rasmussen forged their new distillery out of two distinct visions when they discovered each other with complimentary gifts and some overlapping goals. According to their website:
“Painted Stave Distilling is located in the Old Smyrna Theater, a movie house first opened in downtown Smyrna in 1947. The theater was built by the Schwartz family along with sister buildings in Dover and Middletown. The Smyrna Theater was the last completed and was considered the most advanced theater in Delaware when it opened.”
Apparently, Diamond State Whiskey was the last brand of whiskey produced in Delaware. The Painted Stave Diamond State Bourbon is the first legal bourbon made in Delaware. This bourbon is an attempt to connect contemporaries with a pre-Prohibition era from about one hundred years ago.
The color in both bottle and glass is a medium brown with a reddish tint in the bottle and a golden tint in the glass. The legs are long and ready. The nose is of moderate strength and leads with young oak, some light banana and then throws in some more young oak. Some very light alcohol burn is also present. There is a very creamy mouthfeel that starts the experience on first sip. The action jumps almost immediately to the back of the mouth on the tongue and the upper and lower throat regions. The palate gets some licorice and young oak over some light fruit. To be honest, it drinks hot. It hits in the throat area and really dominates the tasting. The finish is long and filled with pepper and extends for a significant period of time and mixes with the burn while it definitely grabs your attention. I rarely add water or ice, but this experience is significantly improved with a single ice cube. It cools the heat and smooths out the flavor for a much more enjoyable experience. This would definitely be my method of choice for this whiskey.
Diamond State Straight Bourbon Whiskey Is located in Smyrna, Delaware and is currently supplying outlets in that region including Maryland, Pennsylvania, as well as Delaware. However, their products are also available through many online outlets. The 2nd batch of bourbon is now available after the limited initial offering sold out in 45 minutes. You should find it selling in the $40.00 neighborhood.