Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch Bourbon (Batch #28)

Halfway between Wyoming's Shoshone and Bighorn National Forests is the tiny town of Kirby (population 92). Kirby, WY is just up the road from the Wind River Reservation in the Bighorn Basin. It's almost four hours from the buzz of Jackson Hole, arid, rugged, and wide open.

Kirby is also where a handful of very passionate people are running the first legal distillery in Wyoming- "where corn, wheat, and barley grow tall." Where pure limestone water flows a mile below the ground. Blistering hot summers (134 degrees in a warehouse). Unbelievably frigid winters (-66 outside).

Wyoming Whiskey was founded on July 4, 2009 by fifth generation cattle rancher Brad Mead, his wife Kate, and their friend David DeFazio. The Meads and DeFazio were practicing law together in Jackson when they turned distilling dreams into reality. Brad Mead is the grandson of former Wyoming Governor and U.S. Senator Clifford Hansen, and he's the older brother of Wyoming's current Governor Matt Mead. He has spared no expense in making a great American whiskey.
Photo source: wyomingwhiskey.com
In 2009, the team hired master distiller Steve Nally, who spent 33 years at Maker's Mark, to run their 38-foot tall Vendome still. They also hired Lincoln Henderson, of Angel's Envy fame, to be their first consultant. The first batch was delivered in 2012 to mixed reviews, which DeFazio took responsibility for. Like me, he is impatient, and he wanted to see the fruits of his labor in consumers' hands before it was ready. After hearing complaints, DeFazio made amends by reimbursing some customers and promising a better product. That's honorable. And he followed through.

Following Lincoln Henderson's death in September 2013 and Nally's retirement, the reins were passed to the young and talented distiller Sam Mead and consultant Nancy Fraley. Sam and Nancy have increased production by nearly 100%, and they recently changed yeast strains to produce a more caramel/butterscotch forward pour. Wyoming Whiskey has also hired a northeast sales director and opened a tasting room in Jackson.

In addition to their small batch bourbon, Wyoming Whiskey produces a single barrel bourbon and a very limited edition barrel strength bourbon.

The small batch bourbon is distilled from a mash of 68% corn, 20% wheat, and 12% malted barley. All of the grains are grown in Wyoming, are non-GMO crops, and are milled on site in Kirby. It is now aged for 5 years in 53 gallon barrels. It is cut to 44% ABV, as Wyoming was the 44th state admitted to the union. I've reviewed a dram from the "legendary batch 28."

Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch Bourbon

Wyoming Whiskey
88 proof

Color: Bright, golden.

Nose: Mostly sweet with nice depth. Vanilla frosting, caramel sauce, wet oak, cinnamon spice.

Tasting Notes: A wheated bourbon through and through. Vanilla, Werther's candies, cinnamon sugar, subtle char, and just a touch of minerality. Not a whole lot of oak influence despite five years in the wood but a really nice, lengthy finish.

Overall: B+. Wyoming Whiskey is a delicious sipper. It's in the same flavor neighborhood as W.L. Weller Special Reserve and Larceny. The wheat influence is very apparent as are the sweet caramel and vanilla notes. It's soft and smooth, but has enough kick to get the job done at the end of a long work day.

Peer reviews:

Bourbon Guy

Whiskey Women

Disclaimer: Wyoming Whiskey sent us a bottle of Batch 28, no strings attached. We appreciate their generosity!