Die-hard whiskey fans camped out for two days ahead of Woodinville Whiskey Co.'s Saturday release of its standard barrel Flagship Straight Bourbon Whiskey, the first of its kind in the Northwest to be aged in a full-size barrel for a comparable length of time (five years) of those in the Kentucky region. The whiskey uses all Washington state-grown ingredients, that, due to the uniqueness of our climate and different grain varieties, will have a character different from those made in Kentucky.
Pre-launch judging earned the bourbon "Best of Category" Silver honors from the American Distilling Institute.
Cost has previously been a barrier for any locally-made whiskey to be aged the same amount of time as those in Kentucky, says co-owner Orlin Sorensen.
"You build a distillery, buy the equipment, buy the grain and barrels," he says. "You have to fully operate every day. Then you don't sell anything or receive any revenue on that product for for years and years. It's a tremendous investment in the future."
The whiskey's ingredients are all grown in state at the Omlin family farm in Quincy. "They are a small, independent, third generation farm that grows exclusively for us. Both of our aging warehouses are on the farm as well, with the third one being built right now," Sorensen says.
The whiskey packs its own unique flavor profile, too. "It's pot distilled in batches versus column distilled like all the large distilleries in the south. What that means is we can remove the heads and tails which are the more undesirable parts of the distillation process. It is not possible to remove these with a column still. This yields a flavorful and complex whiskey without the harshness," Sorensen says. He recommends drinking it neat or in a traditional bourbon cocktail like a Manhattan or Old Fashioned.
The whiskey will be available at local bars and restaurants as well as throughout the company's retail network in Washington.