Tarpon Springs Distillery is known in their area for taking pride in their spirits. In addition to crowd-favorites, like gin, but they also make unique spirits that are both innovative and fun to try. For example, their historic Aquavit or their Claresso spirit distilled from espresso.
However, they have also been working on making a great whiskey. One that they can be proud to place their name behind.
You see, Barry, the owner of Tarpon Springs Distillery, takes great pride in his work. He started off with the vision to create the best spirits he possibly could. That’s a humble goal that he has made his best effort to accomplish each and every day.
Barry rolled up his sleeves on this whiskey and went to work.
It’s a very unique thing, being a craft distillery and creating a whiskey. Let alone a whiskey that can stand on its own legs in a crowded and highly-competitive market. A distillery needs to take on a gamble when they decide to make their own whiskey. They have to incur the cost of creating a product that won’t get into consumers’ hands for years, they have to rack the barrels taking up valuable space, and then they have to hope it sells.
It’s never an easy thing, especially when craft distilleries are already trying to grow on often razor-thin margins.
This Gramling Woods Rye Malt Whiskey is tasty. At 110, they’re giving you the full dose at barrel strength rather than watering it down to increase profits. And, we have to say, this expression really shines at barrel proof.
The pour is sweeter than one might expect from a younger rye, but that has everything to do with the process and aging. Tarpon Springs Distillery has installed a system capable of extracting more of the flavor locked within the grain before they distill and age. And, tasting two different moonshine expressions, one with and one without the use of this technique, yield two drastically different tasting spirits even with the exact same mash bill.
I believe this is one of the reasons for the sweeter and robust flavor found in this younger rye. They also aged the rye in smaller barrels. While it doesn’t necessarily speed up the maturation process that comes with a longer rest, it does allow more surface area to come in contact with the whiskey. This means that the whiskey is filtered through the wood more expediently, giving it more opportunity to metabolize and absorb chemicals found in the wood. It also allows more of the char flavor and wood to be imparted.
This expression by Tarpon Springs Distillery certainly has a strong vanilla and wood component. And, those blend nicely with the earthy and toasty rye notes present in the whiskey.
If you haven’t and you’re in the area, go give Tarpon Springs Distillery a try. Grab some of their unique offerings and then grab yourself some delicious greek food at the sponge docks that lay just a block away.
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.