St. George Spirits out of California is easily one of the pioneers of the now very competitive American craft distillery segment, having started down the spirits making road 40 years ago. Now, in honor of this, they’ve announced a special anniversary whiskey.
The new St. George 40th Anniversary Edition Single Malt Whiskey, according to those behind it, was put together by Master Distiller Lance Winters and head distiller and blender Dave Smith. They sampled more than 600 casks over a period of several months, ultimately selecting only 14 to draw from for the whiskey.
Sourced from barrels that range from four years old to one of the earliest casks the distillery ever laid down, the selection process brought what’s described as “a range of unique characteristics that complete the whiskey’s flavor profile. For example, a California Sauternes-style cask imparts notes of stone fruit and rose geranium. Some barrels are nods to important pieces of St. George’s heritage, like the umeshu casks that serve as a tribute to Baller Single Malt Whiskey.”
The release of this whiskey lands alongside other American single malts in the distillery’s portfolio, which include Baller Single Malt Whiskey and the Lot Series, a yearly release which the distillery began making in 1996 and first released in 2000.
“Our 40th Anniversary Edition Single Malt Whiskey represents the cumulative experience of 40 years of boundary-pushing distillation, as well as our decades-long love affair with making single malt,” said Winters in a prepared statement. “It’s the pure essence of passionate self-expression—and it’s also delicious.”
“Special releases are about sharing our heritage and making a statement about where we are today, as well as where we are going,” added Smith. “We were inspired to finish a portion of our anniversary single malt in umeshu cask as we discovered that our Lot Series mash bill married perfectly with the stone fruit tones of umeshu and brought balance to the rich weight of Lance’s house-made tawny port casks.”
Plans call for just 1,982 bottles (a nod to the year St. George was founded) to be released in early November at the distillery and also fine spirits retailers, bottled at 48% ABV and priced at $500. To further honor 40 years of craft distilling, St. George Spirits will be donating $40,000 to the STEPUP Foundation, an organization that aims to provide underserved individuals with opportunities, training, and mentorship to enter the spirits industry.
Official tasting notes are below.
- Nose: Opens with vibrant cola over dark chocolate and lager. Over time, creamy notes of brown butter and salted caramel emerge laced with fennel and sandalwood. Patience reveals candied berry and sweet coconut.
- Palate: The initial hit is classic St. George made deeper: dark chocolate goes to walnut fudge and latte. Amber malt mingles with buttered waffle. Then, the coconut arrives and the spice notes begin to reveal themselves. Cinnamon and clove are amplified by candied ginger. Stonefruit appears, then takes on more tropical undertones. Sherry notes turn to tawny port, then fig preserves, before finishing with soft smoke and barbecue char.