Stranahan's Diamond Peak Colorado Whiskey, Batch 004

Stranahan's Diamond Peak whiskey is a single malt (100% barley) Colorado whiskey aged for four years in a downtown Denver warehouse.  Diamond Peak ages in new, #3 charred American white oak barrels and is cut to 94 proof with Rocky Mountain water, which we've come to truly enjoy (Breckenridge, 10th Mountain Bourbon, standard Stranahan's). Master distiller Rob Dietrich personally selects barrels in the warehouse to craft Diamond Peak. We picked up bottle 2,369 from batch 004 while scouting in Florida.

The distillery concept emerged from a fire, literally, on the day that George Stranahan's Woody Creek, CO property burned to the ground.  Stranahan, owner of Flying Dog Brewery, and Jess Graber, a volunteer firefighter, struck up a conversation as the fire burned itself out.  When Graber learned that Stranahan owned Flying Dog, he explained that he was a "recreational distiller," and Stranahan offered him his extra barn to start distilling his old Flying Dog wort. God works in mysterious ways.

Flying Dog has since relocated from Colorado to Frederick, Maryland after Stranahan realized that his fan base was on the East Coast.  Frederick is a historic town north of D.C. (but not beholden to it) and is the future home of the McClintock Distilling Company, which plans to produce a bourbon whiskey in due time. Along with Pikesville Rye, a Maryland and Maryland style whiskey resurgence is on the horizon.   

In 2009, following several years of major success, Stranahan’s Distillery moved into what had been the old Heavenly Daze Brewery on So. Kalamath St. in Denver. The brand was sold to Proximo Spirits in 2011 and continues to spread like wildfire. Stranahan has retired, and Graber currently oversees the TINCUP whiskey project.

Stranahan's Diamond Peak Colorado Whiskey, Batch 004

Stranahan's Distillery
94 proof
4 years old
$79 at Total Wine in Jacksonville, FL
Bottle #2,369.  Batch 004.

Color: Rich amber. 

Nose: Damp Siskiyou cedar leads the nose- like a trip into the pacific northwest woods. The alcohol is present in a nail-polishy/lacquered way, balanced by a cinnamon-sugar sweetness.  The barley lingers, complimented by a lightly charred oak. Overall, the nose is outstanding.

Tasting Notes:  Diamond Peak is a rich whiskey with a well-balanced spicy/sweet flavor profile.  I get cocoa bean, cinnamon, and honey sweetness; there are some deeper, smokier qualities in the swallow and finish- oak, barley, tobacco, leather.  The finish is long and has a lasting, prickly heat.  It's a delightfully challenging and complex dram.

Overall: A-.  As a daily bourbon drinker, its fun to sip a single malt whiskey from time to time. Diamond Peak impresses, with its balanced, yet varied profile.   The cedar nose and barley funk are unique and interesting.  As is my gripe with most premium releases, the price tag ($79) is harder to swallow than the whiskey.