For our 50th whisk(e)y review, we wanted to review something very personal. We live near the St. George distillery in Alameda and have visited frequently (linked here is one of our first distillery tour reviews at St George!).
The story of how we ended up getting the 35th Anniversary edition has a lot to do with luck. A week prior to the 35th anniversary release, they announced through their mailing list that tickets for a special tour with master distiller Lance Winters would be released online at noon (I believe it was a Tuesday) – and along with the tour would be the opportunity to buy the bottle on-site. Both of us marked our calendars and prepared to duck out of noon-time meetings for the opportunity to score tickets. The day of, we texted frantically as we logged onto the St. George site. The special tour link finally showed up – but upon check out… crash. Try again. Crash. Refresh. Crash. Refresh again. Crash. Refresh… sold out.
Disheartened, we gave up (after a few more refreshes just to make sure) and then returned back to our meetings. By chance, while eating a late lunch, I returned back to the site around 1:15pm to have something to do between chews. Hard swallow. 1 ticket was still there. I held my breath throughout the entire checkout process… and yipped quietly in my office when I received a confirmation email.
Even though we only had one ticket, they were kind enough to let us both attend the tasting tour (the other option was that one of us would just at least hang around and taste the core line). The tasting was awesome – they let us sample the Baller, Lot 17, and the 35th Anniversary while Lance answered questions, ranging from whether or not they were considering making an airag (Mongolian fermented horse milk) to how awesome Aisha Taylor (Lana Kane from Archer) was – she is a fan and was helping the efforts of St. George to produce Glengoolie (the fictitious scotch favorite of Archer) that ultimately got cancelled.
- Score - 7.5/107.5/10
Nose: Calvados, apple brandy, dark caramel, pear, floral, chocolate mocha, pine resin, and sawdust.
Palate: Bouquet of flavors. Cherry garcia ice cream, mint, menthol, root beer, oaky chocolate, bright pink bubblegum, caramel, stream water, lychee, toasted coconut
Finish: Lingering Andes mint, lychee, and long sawdust.
Overall: 7.5/10. Very good whiskey – flavorful and remarkable. There is a lot going on.
TDLR: “Many leatherbound books… and smells of rich mahagony” – Ron Burgundy
Bought for: $500 at St. George Distillery
Quick overview of our scoring system. Our average score for whisky is a 5.
- Blend of many of their previous whisky releases, including Lot 12, 14, 15, and 17 – as well as a special cask of single malt finished in barrels that held their Agricole Rum (another hard-to-procure spirit of theirs). Whiskey Wash has a wonderful write-up on every barrel that goes into the blend.
- NAS (No Age Statement): Lance stated this was on purpose – he wanted some of the lighter floral and fruitiness of a younger whisky but with the refinement of older casks
- Only 771 bottles released (each hand-numbered)
- ABV: 41%
About St George
- Our review of the St. George distillery tour: a Willy Wonka factory for alcohol enthusiasts
- Probably the most famous bay area distillery – it has been operating since 1982 and is most known for their brandies (eau-de-vies). Their vodka operation was sold to Proximo Spirits as Hangar One
- Also known for their bold spirit in innovation – they have tried flavors that range everything from lobster to wasabi (none of which have made it to the market – perhaps for good reason)