March 14, 2012

White Pike Whiskey

The popularity of the market niche for unaged whiskey among American craft distillers shows no signs of slowing. In fact just the opposite. One of the latest players is a New York State white spirit its makers boast is "aged 18 minutes in reused cooperage." 

"Crafted by a man trained in the Alabama school of fast whiskey, White Pike is a refined spirit made to be shot, sipped, or mixed."

I presume that quote from Finger Lakes Distilling refers to Thomas Earl McKenzie, one of the two unrelated McKenzies who make this burgeoning Upstate New York company one of the hottest craft distillers around.

White Pike is made from a mash of 59% corn, 28% organic spelt and 13% malted wheat. Despite its lack of aging, the malted wheat provides a bit of a woody taste that smooths the edges of what usually is a sharp product. It is warm and slightly syrupy on the tongue, surprisingly light on the palate and provides a clean finish that pure-corn unaged spirits often miss.

It is bottled at 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof) and packaged in a bottle that is half black and half clear, making it stand out on the shelf.

White Pike is sort of a co-op project with Mother New York, a decidedly offbeat company that lists its services as "Creating White Pike Advertising, Design, Misc. festivities, Short films, Longer films, Puppetry, Fine spirits, Internet things, Video games, High quality still photography, Business cards, Sausage making, etc."

The corn and wheat come from the Burdett, Seneca County, area, where the distillery is located. The spelt is imported from nearby Canadian growers.

Retail price: $39.99 for the 750ml bottle.

Go to Dowd's Spirits Notebook.

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