“White” or Unaged Whiskeys can be sort of a mixed bag. By that I mean they mostly suck. Harsh? Perhaps, but in my experience that’s just been the case. I’m from the “wood is king” school of thinking. Wood does something to distillate that is pure magic. What more can be said?
About 4 weeks back I received an email from John Henry, a CA resident and visitor of this site. John asked me if I’d heard about an up an coming distiller out of the San Francisco Bay Area called 1512 Barbershop. He’d had a bottle and was floored by it and wanted me to be on the lookout. Soon after that I received a sample for review.
Here’s the scoop. Salvatore Cimino owns an actual barbershop in San Francisco called 1512 Barbershop. During prohibition, many barbershops acted as fronts for bootlegged spirits and whiskey. It wasn’t uncommon during those times for such “whiskey” to be of the unaged variety. Salvatore is a throwback whiskey purist of sorts having grown up distilling whiskey in an an old-school manner; milling grain by hand and copper pot distillation over open flames. 1512 Barbershop makes the not so subtle reference to this being Salvatore Cimino first “public” release. I chuckled when I read that. Thoughts of my granfather setting a mason jar with a peach floating in it popped into my memory.
So, how does this unaged Rye Spirit/Whiskey taste?
1512 Barbershop Rye, 45.5% abv (91 Proof), $30 (375ML Bottle)
Color: Crystal Clear
Nose: Green apple, ripe pear, clean, fragrant rye grain, and a confectionary sweetness.
Palate: The palate is crisp and clean with dusty, peppery rye grain shining through from the onset. Rock candy and taffy sweetness anchor this one as does an ever present fruity quality.
Finish: The finish is all rye, mild pepper, and a scant, haunting licoricey note.
Overall: I have to say this one caught me way off guard. To date, there are two white whiskey/spirits that I would consider “outstanding”. One of them is Four Roses OBSK mashbill (OBSQ isn’t far behind). The other is this one. If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, K&L Wines has some in stock.
Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: (8.9 Superb/Outstanding)