Bottled 2013 2713 bottles Aged 6 years in oak, 8 in stainless
You may know of LAWS's fascination with Charbay whiskey -- see Release I, Release II, and the private LAWS Edition. Simply put, we feel there is nothing else like it in the whiskey world. In 1999, 13th-generation distiller Marko Karakasevic took 20,000 gallons of bottle-ready, craft pilsner beer and distilled it down into whiskey. Nobody had really ever done that before, and as far as we know there still isn't anyone except Marko who's distilling "real," bottle-ready beer into whiskey. The results are remarkable and unmistakeably Charbay.
This is the 3rd official release of the 1999 pilsner distillation.
There's that craveable, distinctive Charbay pilsner nose. Strong, sweet, herbal, fruity, evergreen, it's constantly evolving and hard to pin down. The only thing the scent is slightly comparable to is Amaro Montenegro (an Italian liqeuer, blend of over 40 herbs), though this has much more breadth and depth. This is the nose you'll come to crave. You just can't find it anywhere else.
The palate is an immediate onslaught of deep flavors. Bursts of dried fruits -- mixed berreis (cherries especially) and cider notes keep coming back, with varying esoteric liqueurs and herbal digestifs, all nicely sweet. Charbay's pilsner whiskey is one that really defies accurate description. The main thing to understand is that it is BIG. The finish sticks for quite some time and brings you back for more.
As you might expect, it's bolder than Release II (in fact II is almost watery in direct comparison) and I much prefer it to that one. There's more wood and spice here than Release I.
Whiskey is getting pricey these days, and this is no exception. But of all the high-end bottles currently out there, this is one of the very best. It can go toe-to-toe with any of the top single malts or bourbons -- but don't try to compare it to them. Aside from its sister releases, there's nothing else like it.
Wow! Very excited for another Charbay release... Clove and lemon cake and subtle fruit on the nose, a bit of hops, but lacks the intense pungent sweetness that is so pronounced on the nose of Release 1 and LAWS. This has flattened out a bit, but is still seductive and intoxicating.
There's a nice weight to the palate feel. This is not as ethereal as Release 1. The hops are concentrated like a reduction, dense, but not as broad a spectrum of flavor - not as wildly herbaceous as prior versions, but still big and bright and layered with fruit and spice flavors. Between the high ABV and the intensity of flavors, very little, other than another Charbay, could follow this and hold its own. Rich, lingering sweet-hot finish is as expected.
If you'd never had another Charbay this would be truly unique and absolutely phenomenal. After many ounces of the divine nectars that are Release 1 and the LAWS bottling it is merely excellent - superior to Release 2.
N: The expected Charbay nose, with big minty hoppy herbal notes and less expected hints of orange custard, chocolate, and marshmallows. A bit more rounded and sweet compared to the sharp dry nose of the first release.
P: Delightfully powerful in strength, explodes with hops and herbs with some oak swimming in the background.
F: Thick and sticky, evergreen builds and builds with each sip.
I don't have too much to add to the above, but this is an all around excellent release. Dark amber color, with sweet hops on the nose. On my tongue it is just all around deliciousness with chocolate and hops. Great finish. [10/18/13]
The nose has all of that hops and spice that I'm used to from these Charbay releases along with a perfume like quality. The palate is sweet and hoppy with a thick mouthfeel. You get the funky, hoppy character but with less of the marijuana note than I've tasted in some of the other releases. The finish is hoppy and spicy and lasts pretty much forever. This release is sweeter than any of the other Charbay pilsners I've had. It's great, funky stuff, and I like it better than the original Release II, possibly because it's at a higher strength, but I still think it's hard to beat the boldness of the very first release.