- Distiller: Old Elk Distillery
- Spirit: Straight Wheat Whiskey
- Aged: 7+ years
- Price: $64.95
- Proof: 116.1
- Old Elk Website
- Davidoff Tampa Website
About The Distillery & Bottle:
- “At Old Elk Distillery, in Fort Collins, Colorado, craft is everything. Founded by serial entrepreneur, Curt Richardson, the innovator who created OtterBox and Blue Ocean Enterprises, Old Elk Distillery creates their own process for spirits. To them, excellence does not come from riding trends, but comes from experience and patience instead. Look at their Master Distiller, Greg Metze. With over four decades of experience in producing world class whiskies, Metze worked with the team to create Old Elk’s signature Slow Cut proofing process.”
- “Wheat mash bills have all the same challenges of a rye and are never an easy path to take when distilling, but Metze decided to craft Old Elk’s Straight Wheat Whiskey in the spirit of the acclaimed 95 percent rye whiskey. He applied all of his expertise and knowledge into producing another one of a kind product: a mash bill of 95 percent soft red winter wheat and five percent malted barley, aged for five years, this whiskey is a vivacious and refreshing spirit that is reinventing what it means to be a sipping whiskey.”
Notes & Review
Nose: A deep and rich vanilla spice, clove, raw orange blossom honey, and cinnamon stewed winter fruit make up a delicious and juicy nose. The sweetness quickly fades into full scents of wheat and a little bit of dried cherry, clove, and honey.
Palate: The palate is full and dense with continuous bursts of flavor across the pour. Baking spice, tobacco, and toasted buckwheat give it a dry palate up front, then it opens up into a delicious spiced caramel, clove, honey, baked cinnamon plum, and then back to toasted wheat giving it a very multi-dimensional feel.
Finish: The finish really brings it back down to earth. Here you get a return of toasted wheat and the more classic flavor of charred oak and dried leather, but keeps some surprising undertones of cinnamon spice and tobacco.
Review: Suzie’s Winter Kiss is another in a long line of Old Elk single barrels that are sweeping up whiskey lovers in a craze. However, the juice seems to deserve the praise, as this is yet another hit.
The thing that really threw me for a loop about this bottle was the intensity and complexity of the nose and palate. The actual profile seems to continuously shift between waves of sweet and savory. These shift keep your tastebuds electrified as a soft and rich sweet profile will crescendo into a more bold and spiced profile, just to mellow back down towards sweet.
That isn’t something you find often.
I think the barrel pick team did a great job naming this bottle, as it perfectly mirrors the tasting experience. The winter comes from the clove, honey, winter spice, and baked plum in the pour, while the kiss is the electrifying rush of bold earthiness you get from the wheat and toasted notes.
I love when there’s a good play on words.
The fact that this is a wheated whiskey, and not a bourbon, allows the distiller more variety to create a unique experience. Don’t get me wrong, I love wheated bourbon as much as the next enthusiast, but considering that bourbon makes up a large part of the whiskey market and at least 51% of a bourbon has to be corn, there is only 49% or less you can do with the remaining mash bill. However, this whiskey is complex and unique. It definitely shows that corn doesn’t have to be the base to make an incredible wheated pour.
At less than $70 for the bottle, I’d be hard pressed not to want one of these for my shelf. I try a lot of whiskey, and I mean A LOT. But, this is one of those pours that really stood out to me as something special and unique. Something that commands the price and doesn’t just “meet” my expectations of a bottle in that price range.
Suzie’s Winter Kiss is a single barrel out of Tampa, FL and available from Davidoff of Geneva and Lueken’s Liquor.
User Review( vote)
Greg Sinadinos started his spirits journey writing a whiskey periodical for Fine Tobacco NYC Magazine. He began answering review requests under a social media page he named “Whiskey Culture,” which quickly merged with Greg’s passion for connecting with others and his interest in history.
Today, Greg travels the country not just looking for great whiskey, but also exploring the history and individuals that the whiskey community is founded upon. He has authored “Whiskey History From Around The World” and is the host of “The Rickhouse” web series.