This is our fifth and final review of the 5 whiskies we tried at the ASW Distillery in Atlanta, Georgia. More about the beautiful tasting room and rickhouse is in the first review. ASW Distillery is a very young distillery that officially began their Atlanta distilling operations in 2016 (originally started in 2011 exclusively with a white dog in North Carolina). They have already released an broad portfolio of whiskies, with 6 available in the tasting room. The taste profiles range from wheated sweet bourbons to super-peaty. All their in-house whiskey is super young (<2 years), although some of their whiskies are sourced.
Links to our previous four reviews are as follows:
- Fiddler Union – their high-wheat bourbon (6.5)
- Resurgens Rye – a 100% malted rye mashbill (7.5)
- Duality Double Malt – malted rye and malted barley (8)
- Burns Night – slightly peated single malt (6.5)
I had really looked forward to the Tire Fire, since their menu listed the flavor profile as being similar to my two favorites: Lagavulin and Laphroaig. Unfortunately, the peat didn’t end up hitting the right notes and ended up being a smoke-bomb, but in a rubber tire way.
Nose: Smells as advertised: like burning tires. Tar, mesquite bbq, wood logs Palate: Soot, makes you exhale on first sip due to the smoke, ash, a little honey but not that sweet, Ardbeg like in its briney-ness, cigars, some chocolate. Rubber tires and asphalt. Summary TLDR: Tire Fire is right. Overall: Wish it were a bit more complex. It is peaty and powerful but a bit one note. I also didn’t like the smoke as much as I enjoy the medicinal flavors that are balanced with sweetness. While researching this whisky for the article, I found out that the master distiller is actually not a fan of peaty whiskies (he finds them to taste like burning tires) and I think that comes through in the whisky. 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: 40.5%
- No Age Statement (but likely very young; their “Duality” whiskey was only a year old when it won Double Gold at the SF Spirits Competition)
- Single-malt. 100% heavily peated malted barley from Iverness Scotland, 45 ppm phenols
- Aged in new, char 3 American white oak barrels
- Released in September 2018
- 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