Tarpon Springs Distillery in Florida has become a local favorite in a crowded scene. And not without good reason. They have focused on creating unique and delicious spirits. Some are a variety that doesn’t seem unusual, like their Gramling Woods Rye Malt Whiskey that won a Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Others are straight out of a history book, like their Aquavit, a secret blend, and their take on a historical spirit.
I have been fortunate enough to try the vast majority of their spirits. From moonshine to ouzo, I’ve become familiarized with Tarpon Springs’ spirits and the handiwork of Barry Butler, who is convinced that his calling in life was to create the best spirits possible. A mission that he takes seriously and lives to achieve every day.
I’d like to take some time to focus on Gramling Woods, as craft whiskey is a rather large scene, and it’s rare when one really separates itself from the pack. Sure, many craft whiskies are unique, but unique doesn’t always mean quality. However, quality is at the forefront of their spirits roster at Tarpon Springs.
A strong and warm rye note on the nose reminds me of a fresh piece of rye toast. Nice notes of baking spice, cinnamon sticks, and white peppercorns accompany this, making the nose a savory delight. The palate is complex and straightforward. You get a lot of barrel flavor in the body, and that toasty wood note remains consistent throughout the pour. You get hit with a nice combination of tangy and toasted rye flavors that pull equally at your palate and give it a nice and rounded mouthfeel. Subtle flavors of baked brown sugar, charred vanilla, and brown butter run alongside a malt backbone.
This is a pour that will have both novice and experienced whiskey enthusiasts coming back for more. While there are big names out there producing metric tons of whiskey, every now and again, a craft distillery will step toe-to-toe and proudly push forward something truly exceptional. However, one thing is certain, at Tarpon Springs, craft spirits are king, and their entire roster of spirits can be considered exceptional. It’s rare that a craft distillery can put out so many quality spirits. Tarpon Springs Distillery is definitely one to keep your eye on.