Cedar Ridge

Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery is a family owned, craft beverage producer in Swisher, Iowa, the heart of corn country U.S.A. Owners Jeff and Laurie Quint opened for business in 2002 and started making wine from their estate-grown grapes in 2005.

There were no distilleries in the state until the Quints began making spirits at Cedar Ridge, even though Iowa produces more corn than any other state in the country. Since 2010 when they released a bourbon whiskey made from a 70% corn mash, their spirits have won a ton of prestigious awards (e.g. 10 gold medals in international spirits competitions in 2016 alone). I was eager to try the Cedar Ridge whiskey line-up to see what the buzz was all about.

Bourbon

80 proof, nearly 75% corn recipe and distilled to a higher proof.

Color: Light honey.

Nose: The nose is not very aromatic. I get wafts of young oak, raw grain, corn bread, and bright fruit.

Tasting Notes: Honey sweetness, some oak, baking spices, leather, black pepper spice. At 80 proof and less than two years in the wood, it is thin for my taste.

Malted Rye

86 proof, distilled from a mash of malted rye (rye which is soaked and then blasted with heat).

Color: Golden.

Nose: Raw rye, straw, white wine, plastic.

Tasting Notes: Cereal grains, cinnamon, black pepper.

Wheat Whiskey

80 proof, 100% winter wheat

Color: Yellowed water.

Nose: Cereal grain, funky/white dog nose.

Tasting Notes: Vanilla, honey, char.

Single Malt

80 proof, solera aged in a variety of casks including Cedar Ridge wine barrels.

Color: Translucent honey.

Nose: Vegetal, smoke, some citrus, also funky.

Tasting Notes: Cloying maple, vanilla, a tad medicinal.

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Overall, these whiskeys are not my cup of tea. They are absolutely unique and flavorful. I just find them to be under-proofed and underaged.  

Peer Reviews:

Sour Mash Manifesto (on bourbon)

The Whiskey Wash (on malted rye)

The Whiskey Jug (on wheat)

distiller.com (on single malt)

* Cedar Ridge provided samples for this review.