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Category Archives: St. George Spirits

Review: St. George Single Malt Whiskey 30th Anniversary Edition

St. George Spirits has been making Single Malt Whiskey consistently longer than any distillery in the United States. For those new to perhaps the country’s best craft distillery, check out my previous postings and an article I wrote for Dominic Roskrow’s World Whiskey Review. Each of these articles gives a bit more background on the distillery and their whiskey program.

What’s really unique about St. George’s single malt is their aging process. Specifically, they use a variety of barrels and ages to create a whiskey that retains the distillery’s DNA of complex fruit and roasted/toasted malt, but also has slight variances from release to release.

A mere 715 bottles make up the distillery’s 30th anniversary single malt release. The whiskey is comprised of some of the oldest whiskey stocks finished in a barrel that previously held pear brandy. St. George began making eau de vie, particularly pear, when the distillery opened in 1982. The flagship spirit was actually a pear brandy, so this release is a bit of a nod to the distilleries early days.

It’s worth noting that in October of 2011 I was at the distillery and had the opportunity to try a 14 year old single malt that was barrel proof, deep chocolate in color, and had the viscosity of berry syrup. It was one of the best sips of whiskey I had all year. In short, I can absolutely attest to the depth, complexity, and greatness of some of St. George’s stocks. Let’s take a look a closer look at this limited release whiskey.

St. George Single Malt Whiskey 30th Anniversary Edition, Bottle 689/715, 47.3% alcohol (94.6 proof), $400
Nose: Redolent with bright, fresh fruit aromas – honeydew, lush pear, and lemon-lime enriched with nutty toffee, vanilla cream, roasted nuts, and cocoa.
Palate: Ripe orchard fruits (Pear), lemon drops, candied ginger, and almond toffee.
Finish: The finish is full of roasted malt and nuts – long and lingering to balance out the sweetness on the nose and palate.
Overall To describe this whiskey as easy drinking is an understatement. I’ve burned through this bottle like Sherman through Atlanta. Don’t add a drop of anything to this – just pour and enjoy. The price is WAY up there considering I rated the Lot 10 Single Malt a 9.2. It is a limited release of 715 bottles for the lucky few that are able to score one. My advice – grab a bottle of the Lot 12 that was released earlier in the year. Perhaps not quite as honed and elegant as the 30th anniversary, but at $60-65, your wallet will thank you.
Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 9.6 (Epic)

Breaking & Entering Bourbon Review

Breaking & Entering is a new bourbon from the folks at St. George Spirits. While St. George makes all of their own distillates, whiskeys, vodka, gins, etc. – Breaking & Entering is the distilleries foray into the sourcing and blending model. It’s something we’ve seen from companies like High West in Utah, and Compass Box in the UK.

For B&E Bourbon, St. George hand selected and procured 80 barrels of 5-7 year old Kentucky Bourbon from some of the big distilleries in the Bluegrass State. They brought it all back to their Alameda, CA Hanger (and I mean an actual hangar on a former Naval Base right on the San Francisco Bay) and tweaked the blend until they had something unique and quite different from other bourbons on the market.

As an aside: St. George is doing some incredible things, and are one of the more exciting distilleries in this country. Be sure to keep an eye on these guys.

Breaking and Entering Bourbon, $33.00, 43% abv/86 Proof
Color: Deep Golden
Nose: Vanilla infused banana cream, flint, dried golden fruits, nutty, well integrated oak. A tang of sour corn mash.
Palate: Balanced and not overly sweet. Honey and toffee on the entry, white pepper, a healthy dose of wood spices, slightly bitter burned caramel, and tea. Core of fruitiness as well throughout the sip.
Finish: Lively and bright. A good prickle on the tongue as well. Here is where the corn arrives, along with a hint of honey and orange peel.
Overall: Very well made, nice complexity and diverse flavors. This is clearly bourbon, but the flavors are presented in a different way than what you may be used to. For those that feel bourbon can be a tad too sweet for them, B&E is a great middle ground sweetness. Superb stuff.
Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 8.9 (Superb/Outstanding)

Micro Monday: St. George Single Malt Whiskey

St. George Spirits has been making single malt whiskey for over a decade, well before most distilleries in the United States took on a category of whiskey long dominated by our friends across the pond. During this period of time, St. George has amassed a reserve of older barrels, giving the distillery a great deal of versatility to blend some pretty phenomenal single malt whiskey.

One of the unique aspects of the distillery’s single malt is the use of a distillers beer crafted from varied types of malted barley. The barley has been smoked or roasted to different levels, which comes across cleanly in the finished whiskey. The result is a whiskey with base notes of roasted malt and cocoa. The product I reviewed is a sample of St. George‚Äôs Lot 10 release, their tenth bottling of the single malt whiskey. Lot 10 also consists of a batching of 18 barrels ranging from four years of age on up to 13 years, with most of the barrels between eight and nine years old. Something tells me the distillers at St. George like variety. They even uses different types of oak barrels (refill bourbon, sherry, port, and French Oak) to add depth and dimension to the whiskey.

I’d be lying if I said the craft or micro whiskey movement has yielded many exceptional products. Frankly most of what I’ve tasted is palatable at best. For those that share this concern, St. George Spirits gives us a taste of what’s possible when it’s done right.

Soon, I believe the distillery’s Lot 11 will release. For now, let’s enjoy what we have, which is superb.

St. George Single Malt Whiskey, Lot 10, 43% alcohol (86 proof), $50
Review: St. George Single Malt Whiskey is defined by a complex blend of malt and fruit. The nose is exceptional, opening up with lush aromas of melon, banana, pear, lemon-lime soda, and ginger ale. The fruitiness eventually gives way to smoky malt. On the palate the flavors are layered and evolving with ripe orchard fruit, spiced honey, nutty almond toffee, and cocoa. The finish is stamped with chocolate malt and the lingering flavors of the beer used to craft this excellent whiskey. Superb stuff!
Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 9.2 (Superb/Outstanding)