The world of whiskey is an endless ocean of variation, taste and competition. Every year, craft distillers across the country make use of their creative talents and skill to create the best whiskey available on the market. They achieve this by using a variety of ingredients, mash recipes, distillation equipment, distilling methods, and barrel aging techniques. Each new batch is an art form as well as a science to create something truly splendid.
With International Women’s Day, we wanted to take a few moments to recognize some of the women who have helped shape the spirits landscape over the last century, ranging from Prohibition to modern-day.
Ninety-nine years ago, a bespectacled Ohio attorney who’d once been pitchforked by a drunk farmhand and a glacial Minnesotan with a mountain for a mustache guided the U.S. into one of its darkest ages. President Herbert Hoover called this era “a great social...experiment”. That was, of course, before the era abruptly ended thirteen years later. As you might have guessed, this Great Social Experiment was Prohibition. Or “Prohibition”, as anyone with a thirst for the bottle might have called it with a wink and a nod during the era. For speakeasies and locker clubs abounded in cities all across the country, catering to parched politicians and performance artists alike.
Enter Duality, a testament to Justin’s 16 years of single-minded dedication to learning how to make some of the best craft booze in the world. Jim and Charlie met Justin over four years ago and immediately mapped out the idea for Resurgens. Hot on the heels of the idea for Resurgens, though, came Justin’s idea for a whiskey distilled from a mash of 50% malted barley and 50% malted rye. When he mentioned it to Jim one whiskey-sipping afternoon, Jim immediately coined the name “Duality”, a name that describes the dram better than any other could. Little did we know then that Duality is the first whiskey of its kind, anywhere in the world.
Seven years ago, we kicked our journey off in the humble confines of an Atlanta kitchen. We didn't know it then, but our first product, American Spirit Whiskey, was Atlanta's original Post-Prohibition whiskey brand and would soon gain a following around Atlanta as a perfect whiskey for those just getting into the category and others looking for an alternative to the common vodka. As the winds of change started to move Georgia's distillery laws in a favorable direction, we decided to start looking for a place to call our own - a place to locate our own distillery in the heart of our hometown making the spirit we'd loved since our days at the University of Georgia.
Ameireaganach Single Malt is our series of limited single malts, allowing us to showcase the immense differences in flavor that slight changes in method & material can make.
Rhyming with "Harry Connick", Ameireaganach means American in Scottish-Gaelic (that's a Google Translate special for you) and was our Head Distiller, Justin Manglitz's, "liquid resume" when he joined the team in 2013. What does that mean, exactly? Well, he realized a paper resume wouldn't exactly speak to the merits of his production prowess, so he presented a bottle of booze instead.
Duality Double Malt is the World's 1st Whiskey of Its Kind, a delicious whiskey that sips like the crossroads of a smoky single malt and a robust rye.
Duality Double Malt was a happy accident, an experiment gone right when the grain supplier for our Head Distiller, Justin Manglitz, didn't have enough malted rye for Justin to make a full batch of Resurgens Rye. Justin exercised his ingenuity and added malted barley into the batch. As he normally did with Resurgens, Justin retained the grain-solids of both grains throughout the whole production process (from mashing, to fermentation, to distillation).
We expanded on the dual themes by finishing Duality in a combination of new & used barrels and bottling it at 88 proof. The result in Duality Double Malt is something truly unique, a testament to the innovative flavor combinations that craft distilleries across the U.S. are pioneering.
The label features a number of dualistic Easter eggs, including a Scottish-Gaelic translation of the first verses in Act V, Scene I of MacBeth: "Double double, toil and trouble, fire burn, and cauldron bubble."
Atlanta's first and only apple brandy, Armour & Oak is a Georgia orchard apple brandy, made from 100% Mercier Orchards apples, out of Blue Ridge, Georgia.
In Georgia, American oaks and apple orchards abound, steeped in our Appalachian soil and watered by many of our state’s fourteen river basins. Once a year, we partner with these Georgia orchards to distill their delicious cider, then mature the brandy in our own ex-bourbon barrels. Agriculture is our lifeblood, and the resulting twin pot still brandy is our homage to Georgia's agricultural prowess. Our distillery occupies an industrial space near one of Atlanta’s most iconic rail yards, an area that serves as a testament to Atlanta’s origins. Our fair city was, after all, first known as Terminus. We hope you enjoy this, Atlanta’s own apple brandy, and may it remind you - as it does us - of a promising future.
In distilling Atlanta's first rye since Prohibition on its traditional, Scottish-style twin copper pot stills, we took our cue from Atlanta's vibrant craft brewing community to explore new, unique whiskey styles largely ignored by large distilleries. Rye is one of Georgia's traditional grains, and we feature it front and center in Resurgens, crafting Resurgens Rye from 100% malted rye, to create a flavorful whiskey that showcases rye’s potential. We at ASW Distillery aged Resurgens Rye in new, charred American white oak casks, balancing the dryness of the rye with sweetness from the barrel to create an exceptional whiskey, unique to Atlanta. We also release a Port-Cask-Finished expression of Resurgens once per year.
Rye was long-forgotten after the end of Prohibition, but has recently seen a renaissance. Resurgens is ASW Distillery's own take on this expanding category. It's only fitting that renowned Athens artist David Hale - a direct blood descendant of Basil Hayden, the first person to introduce rye into bourbon recipes - crafted the Resurgens Rye label art.
With more than double the wheat content of other “wheated” bourbons, Fiddler’s distinctive grain bill makes it one of the most unique bourbons on the market. A perfect combination of corn, wheat and barley unite to create a smooth, soft bourbon that can be enjoyed by both the whiskey novice and enthusiast. Fiddler started its journey in new 53 gallon barrels and is then finished in-house using an assortment of methods, more specifically described on the label of each release. Releases include Fiddler Original (Release 1; finished in 15-gallon quarter casks), Fiddler Georgia Heartwood (Releases 2-5 and Release 7; finished with staves of white oak heartwood that we harvested in Jackson County, Georgia, seasoned for over a year, and hand-charred), Fiddler Wheated Straight Bourbon Whiskey (Release 6; Atlanta’s first straight bourbon since Prohibition), and Fiddler Unison (Release 8-present; blended with our own in-house bourbon stocks that we distilled on our traditional, Scottish-style copper pot stills with corn from Ranger, Georgia’s Riverview Farms).
In addition to the double-copper-pot-distilled bourbon, rye & malt whiskies, plus seasonal fruit brandies using local Georgia produce that ASW Distillery produces in-house, the ASW team created Fiddler as a line to showcase interesting and difficult to obtain whiskey from across the country and eventually around the world.
American Spirit Whiskey is a distinctive and mixable silver whiskey, one of the few spirit whiskies in the world.
It can be sipped on the rocks or used as a substitute in vodka cocktails for added character. Jim Chasteen and Charlie Thompson, longtime friends who met at the University of Georgia, founded American Spirit Whiskey in 2011, decided to put their passion for whiskey to good use. In American Spirit Whiskey, they have created a moderate and mixable silver whiskey that can be used to create unique new cocktails or serve as a high-character substitute for other spirits such as light rum and vodka.
Based in Atlanta, Georgia and bottled outside Charleston, South Carolina, American Spirit Whiskey is made with choice hearts from the finest bourbon-quality “white dog,” ultra-filtered for a refined taste. This revolutionary filtration process removes the bite of typical unaged whiskey, resulting in a spirit with a distinctly premium character. Whether served neat, on the rocks or mixed into an original American cocktail, one thing is clear: American Spirit Whiskey is created to be the world’s most versatile whiskey.
Do y’all remember Atlanta’s original craft breweries? We’re talking Marthasville, formed in 1994; Atlanta Brewing Co., formed in 1994 and later renamed Red Brick Brewing Co.; Dogwood, formed in 1996; and of course, Atlanta’s biggest craft brewery to date, SweetWater, formed in 1997.
These were Atlanta’s craft beverage pioneers, paving the way for the incredibly rich and diverse craft beer scene we enjoy in Georgia today. Without their hard work and determination, Georgia’s libations landscape would be significantly less interesting. And we here at ASW Distillery would likely not have had a remote chance of trying to help put Atlanta on the map for craft whiskey.
In 1920, a young Atlanta alderman by the name of William Hartsfield began reading speculative literature on the future of what many believed would become a way to transport mail faster. A few visionaries spotted the much more wide-reaching implications of this newfangled technology, the airplane. Hartsfield was one of them, and soon learned of the United States Postal Service’s plan to locate a refueling hub between its New York City and Miami airports for mail planes.
When you were in kindergarten, you likely weren’t a regular bourbon drinker. In fact, you probably didn’t yet know much about bourbon. This makes sense, as teachers are busy teaching you the basics of counting and cooperation, leaving little time to instruct you in the finer spirits of life. As you matured through the years like a fine bourbon in new charred American oak barrels, you likely developed a taste for Scotch, or bourbon, or rye whiskey. (We base this assumption on the fact that you’re here, and all we write about is whiskey.)
At sunrise in December 1861, with soldiers staving off pneumonia, Union General Robert H. Milroy led his troops across a snow-covered rocky meadow against an entrenched Confederate force. Even as the sun slowly flared to life amidst the iron clouds, the wind at the crest of Allegeny Mountain in Virginia’s western barrens kept up its relentless howling. Against the piercing gale, Union troops advanced throughout the morning. But as the clock tipped past noon, Confederate troops unleashed a barrage of artillery fire that drove the Union soldiers into retreat on Cheat Mountain. The war would continue — largely in stalemate — for almost four more years.
--On some American craft distillers' lobbying efforts to convince the TTB to create an "American single malt" class of whiskey, to be comprised of only malted barley and made in pot stills. http://forward.com/culture/food/345479/towards-a-kosher-definition-of-american-single-malt-whiskey/?attribution=home-conversation-headline-2
--The story behind Nashville's Greenbrier Distillery - best known for Belle Meade bourbon. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/2-brothers-revived-familys-tennessee-161500716.html
--Lost Spirits Distillery has plowed ahead with flash-aged rum and rye. More here: http://marketwatchmag.com/lost-spirits-distillery-july-2016/
--University of Kentucky, Wilderness Trail Distillery Collaborate to Convert Stillage into Useful Materials: http://www.azom.com/news.aspx?newsID=46006
If you’ve followed us for a while, you know how much we dislike puns. They’re cheeky. They’re smarmy. They are, for lack of a better word, punny. Puns wore out their welcome long before Shakespeare, and then he went on a 37-play bender devoted almost entirely to their use. They are, for all intents and purposes, a comical anachronism. We hope everyone — most especially, our friends—comes to dislike puns as much as us.
--A jaunt through Islay & the history of its formation & whisky distilleries by The Guardian: http://buff.ly/29XoR21
--An interesting new rice whiskey by the name of Kikori. The NY Times says it has hints of ginger: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/06/dining/kikori-whiskey.html?_r=0
--What does a red-oak-smoked corn malt whiskey taste like? Apparently, somewhat like BBQ, or the perfect aperitif to it. http://thewhiskeywash.com/american-whiskey/whiskey-review-revelations/
--Americans are becoming more experimental in their Scotch selections - a good sign for American single malts, from Fortune Magazine http://buff.ly/29FqXYU
--From Popular Science: What Does The Deadly Oak Epidemic Mean For Whiskey? There's a deadly disease affecting oaks of California and the Pacific Northwest. As a distant cousin of the disease that cause the Irish Potato Famine, it's not new, but it's spreading and means business. http://buff.ly/29SoSbz
--On American single malt whiskey, including the superb Old Potrero rye malt by Anchor Spirits. Which reminds us, we've got a rye malt on the way, due out next year. http://buff.ly/29S9edC
Hope everyone had a great 4th! Now that we're back, let's get this whiskey knowledge train back on the tracks.
--The Daily Beast, on the main source of many craft rye whiskies you'll find state-side: Canada. Specifically, Alberta, where they've been making great rye for years. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/06/28/your-local-craft-whiskey-may-really-be-from-canada.html
--On the Pattison Crash the decade after the 1896 bankruptcy of Scotch whisky speculator Pattison, Elder, by the Whiskey Wash http://buff.ly/2944eS4
--On proofing down whiskey (adding water to it) to achieve consistent flavor profiles and avoid saponification (water bringing out fats from suspension and creating a soapy taste), by the Whiskey Wash
--And in case you missed it on Crafted with Characters, we cover a similar topic in: Whisk(e)y: Neat, with water, or on the rocks? http://bit.ly/neat-or-water
--We also discuss the history behind the whiskey (with an "e") vs. whisky (with the "e") debate here: http://bit.ly/e-or-no-e
--On the re-emergence of artfully blended whiskey, including craft pioneer High West's Bourye, from Bloomberg http://buff.ly/29dyD1y
--Tastebuds & whiskey, WFPL on the differences in the way that women and men taste whiskey: “Pikesville Rye...topped the women’s chart...Elijah Craig...was the men's pick” http://buff.ly/29gYbIZ