Tis the season for gift giving and receiving. Today I review a pairing that was the result of a couple of gifts. As co-host of the award winning The Cigar Authority podcast I was a recipient a couple of gifts from listeners who have become friends. The first being a bottle of liquor from Spirt Hound Distillers. This year (2022) the libation won the award for Whisky of the Year at the International London Spirits Competition. The competition consisted of 930 entries and the spirit scored an astounding 96 points out of 100.
According to the bottle: Inspired both by their love of whisky and their home state, four friends hatched a plan to make an all-malt 100% Colorado whisky. Now we proudly present the fruit of their passion Our Straight Malt Whisky is made entirely from malted barley (including a touch of peat-smoked malt) that’s grown and malted in Colorado. We distill it ourselves in handmade copper stills we built from scratch. For over two years our whisky has been aging in new, heartily charred American oak barrels. Now fully matured, it’s an ambrosial spirit bursting with complex flavors of earth, wood, vanilla and smoke. Each barrel is individually bottled.
The bottle goes on to address, why spirit hound: The hound itself represents integrity and an unyielding pursuit of the finer things in life. The hound is noble, honest, true and will not settle for mediocracy. It is by nature on the hunt for something magical and elusive.
Whisky Review: Straight Malt Whisky
ABV: 45% ABV (90 Proof)
Type: Straight Malt Whisky
Color: Light Gold
Casks: : American Oak
Distillery: Spirit Hound Distillers
Location: Lyons, Colorado (USA)
The Nose: Warm butterscotch wafts upwards from the glass with nuances of caramel, vanilla and oak. I was pleasantly surprised that the libation was missing elements of peat which was used to smoke a touch of the malt in this beverages. Letting the glass sit for a bit sees additional notes of wheat develop.
The Taste: Exceptionally smooth from the first sip, the whisky sees some notes of butterscotch carry over from the aroma that lingers for a bit before a touch of peat emerges before a finish of grain and oak. Subsequent sips reveal some additional peat along with caramel and a continued oaky finish.
The Pairing: In comes the second gift I received, a Byron Poema from Selected Tobacco a company owned by Nelson Alfonso. Responsible for the Behike branding and the lesser known Vergueros line for Habanos S.A.
The pairing of the two work well with the cigar removing some of the sweetness while highlighting the peat giving it a classic scotch taste. It’s quite amazing how pairing two items can change things up as the cigar sees more sweetness including chocolate then I would normally get when smoking it alone. It’s so enjoyable I enjoyed a second pour while still enjoying the cigar. Our pairings never affect our final score, but if it did, this one would add a remarkable 5 points.
Conclusion: As someone who has shifted from Scotch whiskey due to the import taxes, this has similarities of a Highland Scotch without the fees attached to it making it quite attractive. It’s remarkably smooth and it has reignited my passion for the genre of libation. It’s extremely enjoyable, smooth and flavorful.