By Father John Rayls
Heritage Distilling Company has won many awards since its beginning in 2012. In fact, Heritage Distilling Co. (HDC), a craft distillery based in Gig Harbor, Washington, is the most awarded craft distillery in North America by the American Distilling Institute 4 years in a row (2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017). It is a grain to glass craft distillery with a majority female ownership. It appears to be a PC operation with an eye on environmental impact issues. They make a plethora ( Think “Three Amigos” reference) of Spirits with many awards on most products. However, their main emphasis, besides quality products, seems to be their local retail experiences. Many people can not stop raving about the eye appeal and service provided locally. They were the first distillery to be located in South Puget Sound since the onset of prohibition. Founded by CEO and Master Distiller, Justin Stiefel, they feature the only Italian still in the United States. The Dual Barrel Collection Rye Whiskey is bottled at 92 proof and offered with a No Age Statement (NAS). Unfortunately, not much more is known about their products or the barrels used. This rye whiskey is aged in new American Oak barrels and then aged a second time in used barrels previously filled with aging vanilla extract. As a result, an unusual spicey vanilla rye was the target. I’m just not sure the results are really what the distillery originally had in mind.
The Dual Barrel Collection Rye Whiskey has an appearance of dark gold and amber notes. There are highlights of gold with the light passing through the concoction. The legs are thin and sparse. The bottle and label seem designed to be ignored. There’s just nothing to grab your attention or to say “Hey look at me!” It’s a bottom shelf product, but still…. The nose is a very nice surprise filled with vanilla, oak and chocolate malted milk balls. It is somewhat aggressive and easily detected.
Unfortunately, the palate doesn’t live up to the promise of the nose. It is a very light mouth-feel and drinks slightly hot from the beginning. It is a mid-mouth experience with a lot of action on the roof of the mouth. The light flavor of caramel corn with some sweet vanilla and light cinnamon is briefly present. However, it transitions relatively quickly into a medium to long finish dominated by pepper. It continues to drink hot throughout the tasting experience.
You can expect to pay between $28.00 to $33.00. Please remember this is a distillery that is only 5 years old. They are continuing to perfect their products and it is a grain to glass operation which has earned its Best Craft Distillery awards. I expect them to continue their refinement and look forward to trying their other whiskies.