The tale of Stanahan’s Colorado Whiskey goes something like this. George Stranahan (who also owns Flying Dog brewery) had a barn that caught on fire. Jess Graber was a volunteer firefighter who responded to the fire. They decided to let it burn itself out and so while watching the fire they got to talking and discovered they both loved making alcohol. Stranahan beer and Garber was a fan of distilling.
After the fire George offered Jess his other barn to setup a still and distill some of his old beer in. A while after that George gave Jess a spot by his brewery and that’s when Jess brought on Jake Norris to help with the distilling and they began distilling the Flying Dog four barley mash. In 2011 the brand was sold to Proximo spirits and the rest is history.
NOSE: A cavalcade of complex dark dessert notes move this whiskey forward. Notes like toffee, caramel, brown sugar, brittle, and butterscotch are the engine pumping this down the tracks with sweet malty and light nondescript fruity notes in tow.
PALATE: Malt and citrus are pushed across the palate by that same complex dark dessert engine, but this time it’s towing cherries, coconut and a toasted nutty quality that works as a nice counterpoint to the sweet notes.
FINISH: Dark sweetness fades to dark fruit which fades to toasted nuts and caramel on a long finish.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL: Despite the wave of sweet notes there’s a nice balance to it with the fruity, malty and toasty notes helping to even things out. A medium body works well here and the enjoyably smooth texture adds to the experience.
OVERALL: Stranahan’s is a craft distillery doing it right. There is a lot to like about what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. Everything from the comments on the side of the bottle by the labeler to the use of new charred oak and 4 barley mash bill make this something that’s a unique and tasty American whiskey that deserves the cult like following it’s picked up. I enjoy the darkly sweet nose that moves to the palate where it picks up some toasted notes before fading out with some dark fruit on the finish. Definitely a keeper.