Distiller Jörg Rupf uses different roast levels of the barley, different types of oak casks, and a small amount of hardwood smoked malt (alder and beech wood) which all contribute to the whiskey's complexity. "We are consciously staying away from peat," he says, "because it really has no particular connection to California and because of its sometimes overwhelming impact on the flavor profile. Also, there are really good Scottish examples of peated malts available." An interesting point indeed.
Exceptionally sweet fruit nose. Dry, oaky, almost wine-like palate. Smooth but a slightly bitter finish that doesn't linger. Overall, pleasant. B/B+ [LAWS uses the lower of split ratings for cumulative grades]
Very, very fruity apple-y nose. Crisp and pleasing. As seems to be the case with American single malts, this one also has a character that just isn't seen in other whiskies -- whether you prefer that character or not is of course up to you. Finish is where this loses points -- the flavors themselves fade and the alcohol takes over a bit too much. But I'll order this at dinner. B/B+
Nose: Maple syrup and disinfectant, weird and fruity Palate: Very fruity and a bit sour. Finish: Hot! More fruit and white wine. Overall: Might go over better with Irish Whiskey fans, but the overall funky fruitiness is just too much for me.
Nose: fruit brandy, apples, pears, fruit juice, tutti fruity. Palate: Light, sweet and fruity. Are you sure this isn't pear brandy? Slight malty notes begin to surface under the fruit. Finish is short and has a bit more malt on it. One of the strangest whiskeys around.
N: Dry with a hint of acetone; slightly reedy; malty body underneath the sharp nose. Light hint of sugar and fruits - pineapple, grapefruit. A bit of wood, a distant hint of leather.
P: Initially thin but goes oily. There's a beery flavor to this that interacts with the malt and sugar, very reminiscent of a barrel-aged or really malty ale, but not quite that heavy. Almost a hint of hoppiness, some trace fruit, a little wood and furniture polish. It's also on the cusp between "waxy" and "fruit skin".
F: Dries and has that hoppy, beery flavor again. Wood is present with the furniture polish note; malty sugar.
The nose is kind of sharp, the beery palate is strange but not unwelcome. It's an interesting curiosity and encouraging sign for US micros, but I'd hope for something more balanced and less sugary.