Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
Food culture is a big deal here in the Pacific Northwest where The Whiskey Wash is located, but that’s true of most places. What’s different, though, is that if you asked what our specialty cuisine is, we don’t really have one. You’ll find all types of food represented here at a high level. Our signature food isn’t a type of cuisine, but rather a general focus on the “Farm to Table” experience.
It’s part cuisine and part social movement, but the essence of the Farm to Table approach is to acquire quality ingredients directly from local farmers. By sourcing from local farms, you can ensure the quality of ingredients and protect the local infrastructure that produces them. In practice, it can make even the simplest dishes pop. It also reduces shipping and transportation, which saves money and reduces environmental impact.
While this approach has a broad appeal when it comes to food, it’s less common with whiskey. As with the subject of terroir, there’s long been debate over how much impact ingredients have on whiskey. The distilling process is harsh, and producers have long argued that it removes the intricacies of grain varietals. As craft whiskey has gained momentum, however, more distillers are prioritizing the sourcing of ingredients.
Frey Ranch takes the Farm to Table approach a step further, as they’ve combined the farm and distillery into a single unit. The Frey Ranch grows the grains, distills the spirits, ages the whiskey, and bottles the expressions all on the same site in Fallon, Nevada. They have full control of the grain and soil. They can specify the soft winter wheat, winter rye, two-row barley, and dent corn that goes into their Farm Strength expression.
While people can debate the impact these specific grain choices have after distillation, I’m confident in any distiller that puts this kind of deliberate care into the expressions they produce.
Tasting Notes: Frey Ranch Farm Strength Straight Bourbon
Vital Stats: 62.15% ABV. Mash bill: 66.6% dent corn, 10% winter wheat, 11.4% winter rye, 12% two-row malted barley. 124.3 Proof. MSRP 79 USD.
Nose: The high proof is apparent with a strong medicinal rush of alcohol, but it grows into a mix of rich forest smells of moss, old wood, and pine.
Palate: I can taste a smooth base of malted cereal, accented by flavorful notes of baking spice and caramel. There is a dark, molasses sweetness underlying the profile. Despite its high alcohol content, there’s not much burn to this, and I can enjoy the flavor for a decent period before the intensity sets in.
As the finish comes on, the woody flavors are complemented by hints of brine and smoke, almost like a peated whiskey.