Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Old Elk Double Wheat Whiskey Pairing

Old Elk is a label I've only recently paid much attention to. My initial foray into the brand was the Old Elk Cigar Cut. That delicious libation led to reading more about the brand, which led to a few more of their expressions being added to my "wish list." Many of those were readily available in Virginia, but I hadn't gotten around to picking any up. Then I saw on the VA ABC website that several were listed as "closeout items" and marked 50% off. With that event in play, I could delay no longer. I went to my local store and picked up bottles of Double Wheat Whiskey and Cognac Cask Finish Bourbon. I noted that the Cigar Cut was among those discounted, but alas I was too late to grab that one.

I elected to open the Double Wheat right away. The whiskey was paired with a Tatuaje The Drac Redux 2 that had been hiding in my humidor for over a year. Adding to the pleasure of the evening on the deck was the newly released Joe Bonamassa album I had added to my collection. (Okay, technically it's a digital download, but still an "album.")

The Old Elk Double Wheat is a blend of the brand's Wheat Whiskey and their Wheated Bourbon releases. The final product checks in at 107.1 proof. The aroma is robust with sweet dough and cinnamon. My initial thought was "dessert," as a fresh baked cinnamon bun came to mind. Sipping added caramel and a bit of warmth to the mix. As the "double wheat" appellation hints, the sweetness of wheat is the dominant flavor. Rest assured, it's not cloying or overpowering. I would have paid the full $100 MSRP for this one, and getting is for half that was an exceptional bargain. I am fighting the temptation to go back and pick up a backup bottle before they are gone.

The awkwardly named Tatuaje The Drag Redux 2 is a hefty 6 3/4 x 52 Torpedo. It features an oily Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, with Nicaraguan binder and fillers. The well-aged stick gave off flavors of caramel, vanilla, peat, and some white pepper. The sweeter undertones were a pleasing compliment to the sweet whiskey. 

A chatted with the store manager about the Old Elk "clearance sale." She stated that the Old Elks were simply not selling, though not all are marked down. I'm guessing there's some hesitancy from enthusiasts about a Fort Collins, CO producer and the MGP-sourced ingredients. If that's the case, those folks are missing out.

Non-producing distillers often get a bad rap from bourbon fans snobs. However, there are some truly good products being produced. Talented blenders can pick specific mash bills and ages to start with, and then blend and age delicious beverages. Old Elk, along with Barrel Bourbon are two such examples I've enjoyed recently.


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