We recently visited the tasting room at ASW distillery in the heart of Atlanta, which to our delight, focuses exclusively on whiskies (we are used to politely declining the vodka that is inevitably poured at many distilleries). For just $18, we were able to go through a flight of their malt and Bourbon whiskies (1 oz/pour). The tasting room is colossal and sun-soaked with a stately onsite rickhouse (often used for private events and weddings).
The distillery is very new, just barely old enough to create bourbon. For such a new outfit, they’re experimenting with a variety of styles and types of whisky, including single malt rye, single malt, and bourbons.
I really like their menu, which relates each of their expressions with a more commonly known whisky for taste profiles. For example, they relate the Fiddler to Maker’s Mark and Weller and the Tire Fire to Lagavulin and Laphroaig. Overall, the taste profile tended more toward sweeter, dessert-like easy sippers and for young whiskey, we thought they were quite exceptional. They also offer a few tasty-sounding whisky cocktails and as of our visit, started making bourbon slushies with the straightforward recipe of: 8 bottles of whisky, sugar, and ice.
We had Batch 4, which they are locking on as their year round standard (there is also an annual release finished with staves of Georgia heartwood). Batch 4 marries a foraged “high wheat portion” (more than double the wheat of other bourbons) with their own “high malt” bourbon. The line is named after the master distiller Justin Manglitz, who enjoys playing the fiddle.
- Score 6.56.5/10
Nose: Farm wheat, chocolate, vanilla, toffey, oak spice, bourbon, vanilla.
Palate: Super sweet, apples, vanilla, Calvados, dark chocolate, caramel, chocolate covered oranges, spiced pinecone, vanilla end.
Finish: Mid length and oaky.
Overall: Very good for such a young whisky. Unabashedly wheat-forward on the nose and quite sweet.
Bought for: 1 oz in a flight of 5 for $18 at the ASW Distillery Tasting Room. Retails for $37/bottle at the tasting room.
Quick overview of our scoring system – note that our “average” score is 5.
- ABV: 45%
- Website says it is aged in 53 gallon barrels (not much more information than that)
- No Age Statement (but likely very young)
- Distilled in Scottish-style copper pot stills
- “Foraged” whisky from across the country is the high-wheat portion (51% corn, 45% wheat, 4% malted barley) and is married to their own in-house high-malt bourbon (55% corn, 45% malts of rye, wheat, oats, and barley)
- The company started in 2011 but began their distillery in 2016 in Georgia. Their first release was a “silver” whisky (white dog) in Charleston called “American Spirit Whiskey”. Their first matured whiskey release was the Fiddler in 2016.
- Founders Jim Chasteen and Charlie Thompson met at University of Georgia
- Second licensed distillery in Atlanta since Prohibition and the first single malt whiskey in Atlanta