By Father John Rayls
I do love the concept of grain to glass and I admit I find I’m biased in favor of that concept. However, I have also found that this fact by itself doesn’t automatically mean I’ll love the whiskey. In addition, I have found sourced whiskey doesn’t automatically mean I won’t love it and I have several examples to prove it. It’s a set of ironic circumstances. Oregon Spirit Distillers Straight American Bourbon Whiskey is one of those craft distilleries who take great care and a lot of pride in their whiskey distilling craft. They produce their own mash, ferment it and distill it themselves. It is one of those grain to glass operations. Unfortunately, there isn’t much info online and their website is down for revamping and under construction. Facebook is currently the best place to find them with at least some information on themselves and their products. In their own words: “Oregon Spirit Distillers is a family operated distillery focusing on quality spirits that are produced with integrity and creativity. We practice sustainable operations using local ingredients whenever possible. We want our spirits to reflect the quality of life that Oregon stands for. At Oregon Spirit Distillers we produce our own mash, ferment it and distill it ourselves. We believe that’s the way it should be done.” They have been around since 2009 and have built their distillery on a dream. It was very personal as with most craft distilleries. They consider themselves “Spirit Geeks” and are actively looking to connect with others coming from the same perspective.
The Whiskey is aged 4 years and bottled at 94 proof. The bottle and label are very attractive with an image (possibly) of Mt Bachelor in multi-color. It’s labeled as a small batch, but that means many different things in the whiskey industry. The bourbon is a bright copper color in both bottle and glass. The legs are easily viewed but are thin, numerous and inconsistent. The nose rises to meet you and is filled with slight earthy tones, cereal with fresh fruit, light new oak and leather, caramel and vanilla. You may also find some slight alcohol burn.
There is a light mouthfeel with a surprising full mouth activity. On the palette, there are notes of vanilla, cereal and a certain earthiness. It’s slightly sweet and slightly hot. A long finish engages early and dominates with pepper and oak and heat that appears in wave after wave. The finish is definitely the highlight of the tasting experience.
The distillery won Double Gold at the 2017 San Francisco Spirits Competition and was voted Best Craft Whiskey Distiller. You will find Oregon Spirit Distillers in Bend, Oregon. It’s about straight East of Eugene, Oregon. Their Straight American Bourbon Whiskey is retailing all over the map on the Internet. However, you should be able to find a bottle at or near the $37.00 mark if you take your time. It’s now available across most of the US market.