By now you will have noticed there are no detailed tasting notes here and certainly no scores. As previously explained, that’s because you know what you like, can afford and already have it in your drinks cabinet much better than I do and, to the extent that I have philosophy, it’s that whisky is for everyone to explore and enjoy without my didactic pontifications (or, indeed, those of another ‘expert’). So, I was delighted to see this on the Reservoir Distillery’s website: “We believe in “creating your own tradition”, honoring age fact that everyone has a unique palate.” Amen! It’s almost as if they’d read this book.
So in that spirit I point you towards this single-minded Virginia distillery, established in 2008 by childhood friends Jay Carpenter and Dave Cutting. They only make single-grain whiskeys. The Bourbon Whiskey is 100 per cent corn, the Rye Whiskey is 100 per cent rye. And, as you’ve probably guessed by now, the Wheat Whiskey is 100 per cent wheat.
All of those grains come from within 50 miles of the distillery and they age in 13-gallon casks (US gallons that is, so just less than 11 imperial gallons) that they use only once and which have received a custom alligator char. That’s pretty much as deep as charring goes — Ardbeg did this in 2011 and, believe me, you don’t want to know what a bottle of that would cost today.
I also like the suggestion that you blend to your own taste: buy a bottle of each of their whiskeys and create your own personal blend. It’s not difficult and the worst that can happen is that you don’t like it. In which case, put in a drop more of your favorite and see what happens. Then splash out on your own cask (they’re available in a range of sizes) and try extra aging. Before you know it you’re your own Master Blender and you discover you have many new friends. You might even start a business.
They also employed a local mural artist to paint the front of their distillery, presenting a fresh and vibrant face to the world. Apart from being exceptionally cool struck me as an excellent metaphor for their entire weltanschauung. This reservoir is deep.