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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Wakey Whiskey: Cooperstown Distillery Classic American Whiskey

by Eric Ducote

Good morning everyone on this most joyous of days!  What are we celebrating today you ask? A day that should be a national holiday.  A day that should be celebrated around the country and even in Canada.  A day that should see all kids home from school and all parents off of work to join them. 

It's the most American of all days, it's Major League Baseball's opening day!

This is a special one for me as it's the first time I'll be able to share in the glory with my son.  He might only be 5 weeks old, but it's still his first opening day, so this morning I'm breaking out my Astros championship shit, my little man is going to wear... some onesie I guess... and we're going to watch some baseball.

Cooperstown Distillery Classic American Whiskey
With that in mind, I had the perfect selection, the Classic American Whiskey from Cooperstown Distillery in Cooperstown, New York.  For those unaware Cooperstown is home to the National Baseball Hall Of Fame And Museum, a pilgrimage for any baseball fan that I have yet to make but hope to one day.  The good people at the Cooperstown Distillery were nice enough to send samples of their Classic American Whiskey and their Double Play Vodka to the Bite and Booze team, and although I'm not much for vodka, it's wakey whiskey time!

The first thing to notice is the packaging, as this sample is packaged in a miniature baseball-shaped bottle just like the actual full-size packaging only smaller. It's a very attractive design for a baseball fan even as a collector's item in addition to a whiskey storage vessel. According to their site, this whiskey is mashed and distilled in the traditional bourbon style with a predominantly corn grain bill in addition to some rye and barley.  It's then aged for 10 months in used American oak bourbon barrels, which means they can't call it a bourbon (has to be new charred American oak barrels) but that also could accelerate the aging process since there should be some characteristic bourbon flavors trapped in the wood of each barrel.

The sample I had appeared a little lighter in color than the website photo to the right, but I attribute that to the smaller volume. The aroma starts off with some corn sweetness and a fairly aggressive hit of alcohol. It's not bad, but it smells like a very young whiskey, not surprising for only being aged 10 months. The taste however is unexpectedly smooth with classic hints of vanilla and oak, and a smoothness completely surprising given the short aging and the rough notes of the aroma.

It would appear that their unorthodox (for a whiskey at least) method of aging in used bourbon barrels paid dividends on the flavor profile of this whiskey, and I think this might be an avenue for other distilleries to consider, so long as they don't mind not being able to label a product as bourbon.

I hope you all enjoy a glass of whiskey as well today, and Go 'Stros!