Redwood Empire Whiskey is extremely out of place. It has been since they released their first bottled-in-bond batch last year and it continues to be. Yet, it’s one of the most intriguing whiskeys in the game right now and one that is absolutely deserving of your attention and admiration, for several reasons.
What makes Redwood Empire Whisky so out of place is its location. They are located in the Russian River Valley near Sonoma, California. This is WINE COUNTRY. Depending on what side of the road you’re on, it is home to some of the best Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, and Cabernet Sauvignons on the planet.
But just like Russian River Brewing found a home in the Russian River Valley and thrived with their Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger releases, so too has Redwood Empire Whiskey found a home in wine country. In fact, I saw bottles of Redwood Empire at every grocery store I went to the last time I was in Healdsburg (in Sonoma).
Redwood Empire’s 2nd Batch Of Bottled In Bond Whiskey Is A Wine Country Delight
Redwood Empire’s second batch of Bottled in Bond whiskeys includes two releases, the Redwood Empire Bottled in Bond Rocket Top Straight Rye Whiskey – Batch No. 002 and Redwood Empire Bottled in Bond Grizzly Beast Straight Bourbon Whiskey – Batch No. 002.
The Rocket Top Straight Rye Whiskey – Batch No. 002 has a mash bill of 87% Rye, 5% Wheat, 5% Malted Barley, and 3% Corn. It is a straight rye that has been aged 5 years in American White Oak barrels with a Level 3 Char. The 4-grain mash has some sweetness from the 3% corn and carries aromas of ‘bergamot, candied orange, sage, and dates with a savory palate of fig jam, caramel corn, and cracked pink peppercorn’.
The Grizzly Beast Straight Bourbon Whiskey – Batch No. 002 is a straight bourbon whiskey aged 5 years in American White Oak barrels. It has a mash bill of 66% Corn, 23% Rye, 7% Wheat, and 4% Barley. This exquisite 5-year-old Bottle-in-Bond whiskey has aromas of ‘charred sugar, cherry cola, and reduced red currants open into a rich, full mouth of molasses, almond brittle, and lemon bar.’
The name ‘Grizzly Beast’ comes from two legendary trees in California. Grizzly Giant is a giant Sequoia in Yosemite National Park and Mattole Beast is a massive 375-foot coastal redwood in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
What is ‘Bottled in Bond’ whiskey?
Essentially, the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 created a set of legal regulations that must be followed in order for a whiskey to be labeled as ‘Bottled-in-Bond’ and it was done to rid American whiskey of anything and everything that shouldn’t be in whiskey.
In the Wild West, saloon operators were filling half-empty whiskey bottles with god knows what. Everything from tainted water flavored with tobacco and iodine to potentially harmful poisons.
In order to create some quality control assurances for the industry, Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor, Jr. (founder of Old Taylor bourbon) partnered with the Secretary of the Treasury to create the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 which would provide tax incentives in order to get American whiskey distilleries to participate. With the BiB Act, distilleries would be able to delay paying any excise tax on the whiskey until it was done aging.
Once the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897 was passed, in order for a whiskey to be labeled ‘Bottled in Bond’ it must meet these criteria: (1) it must be the product of one distillation season (January–June or July–December), (2) it must be the product of one distillery, (3) it must be the product of one distiller, (4) it must be bottled at 100-proof, and (5) it must be aged for at least four years at a federally bonded warehouse under U.S. government supervision. One season, one distillery, one distiller, 100-proof, (at least) 4 years under proper supervision. Simple enough to remember, right?
Where to find Redwood Empire Whiskey’s 2nd Batch of Bottled-in-Bond
I can’t help but think about this ‘NEWWWW YORRRK CITTYYY’ commercial from way back when. We’re talking about a California whiskey here when the vast majority comes from the East Coast. Convincing people to branch out to the Left Coast shouldn’t be thought considering Sonoma has some of the best weather on planet earth. Eventually, everyone in the whiskey orbit will get around to trying Redwood Empire whiskey and they’ll see the light.
If you want to pick up the Grizzly Beast Straight Bourbon Whiskey and/or Rocket Top Straight Rye Whiskey, you can visit the Redwood Empire Whiskey website. They have a ‘locate’ tool on there to see if it’s available in your area. The SRP for both is $89.99/750 ml.
For every bottle sold, Redwood Empire Whiskey plants a tree. To date, they’ve planted 689,118 bottles!
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