Distillery 291 Colorado Whiskey Review

I don’t like young whiskey. At best you get an interesting tropical banana flavor, and at worst your tongue feels like someone put a match out on it. That’s what I’d tell people before drinking the Colorado Whiskey.

Distillery 291 Colorado Whiskey Header


  • DISTILLER: Distillery 291
  • MASH BILL: Undisclosed (but just over 50% rye)
  • AGE: NAS (but just over a year)
  • YEAR: 2016
  • PROOF: 101.7 (Basecamp Wine & Spirits Barrel Select)
  • MSRP: $70.00


NOSE: Pine | Floral | Spice

TASTE: Initial heat | Caramel | Dry Spice | Cedar

FINISH: Shorter than I wanted, but certainly not disappointing at 101.7 proof. Adding a little water brings the heat down a bit, while the pine, herbal notes, and rye spice flavors burst out of the glass. Unfortunately, water will mute the finish a bit more, so add sparingly (if at all).

SHARE WITH: Everyone. It’s what a night by the fire in the mountain air should taste like. Never feeling like a gimmick, this is delicious stuff and way too easy to pour a second glass.

WORTH THE PRICE: It’s not cheap at $70/bottle, but the true craftsmanship and a unique experience warrant the price point.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: For me, it’s bottle and backup bottle. The Aspen finish is a different kind of flavor, so if you’re able to find it at a bar, it’s a no-brainer to order a glass. Otherwise, I’d recommend you buy a bottle and taste one of the most exciting things happening in whiskey right now.

OVERALL: I don’t like young whiskey. At best you get an interesting tropical banana flavor, and at worst your tongue feels like someone put a match out on it. That’s what I’d tell people before drinking the Colorado Whiskey. Distillery 291 has caused me to enjoy the flavor of an exciting young whiskey, rather than wish it had spent more time in the barrel. If I had to complain, I’d want a bigger finish, but that has already been addressed by the release of their Barrel Proof Colorado Rye. Once only available in Colorado, distribution has been recently expanded to California, so if you find a bottle of the Colorado Rye, you should grab one. It’s easily my favorite mountain whiskey.


Distillery 291 is a small batch distillery making whiskey and liqueur nestled in the stunning foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  Located in Colorado Springs, the distillery sits in the shadows of Cheyenne Mountain and the majestic Pikes Peak which both serve as constant reminders of the founding vision of owner and distiller, Michael Myers, who aims to replicate the taste, smell and folklore of the Wild West — to make whiskey with the character of that unforgettable era.

Myers is no stranger to whiskey or the West.  He spent his youth in the heart of whiskey and horse country inspired by the spirited traditions of Georgia and Tennessee.  Names like Daniels, Beam and Dickel were like family in that neck of the woods as were the tales, some of them tall, that accompanied them.  Growing up on a rural, gentleman’s farm which today rests on 60 lush acres in the rolling hills of Tennessee, in between Jack Daniels and George Dickel, profoundly influenced his love of the West.  Old-fashioned good guys versus bad guys and his love of classic, western movies deepened his passion for cowboys, horses, and saloons which he carried to New York and Los Angeles where he built a successful career photographing some of the world’s most famous faces. Still, with each snap of the shutter, this idea of creating some friends for Daniels, Beam and Dickel kept swirling through his head.  Armed with the support of his friends, Myers finally followed his passion and moved his family West in 2004. After a bit of reasearch, Myers fired up his first run on the still in September of 2011.

Today, Distillery 291 is producing, from grain to bottle, five distinctive whiskey products and one liqueur.  The young distillery has earned national and international recognition for its spirits with unique character and flavor of a bygone era earning bushels of national and international awards.  291 embodies traditions of the past married with the boldness of the future: rugged, refined and, you bet, rebellious.

A traditional whiskey made from rye malt sour mash aged in American White Oak deep char barrel and finished with toasted Aspen Staves. Sweet on the front and spicy in the middle with a sweet finsh. You can hear the saloon doors swing with this one.
Distillery 291


Back in April, I brought you the incredible story of Michael Myers and Colorado Springs’ Distillery 291. The title Craft Distiller” is carelessly thrown at most of the 1300+ small distillers operating in the US, but Distillery 291 is one of the few companies displaying true craftsmanship and innovation.

Based on the rye mash bill of Myers’ favorite whiskey, the Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye, the Colorado Whiskey is aged in 10-gallon charred oak barrels for about a year. “But 10-gallon barrels and year-old whiskey is cheating,” you say? The World Whiskies Awards, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and Jim Murray (of Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible) strongly disagree. In fact, after tasting Distillery 291’s whiskey, Murray has declared “that whiskey just a year old can be this good is obscene.”

Unlike some new distillers, 291 actually produces great whiskey, and they love it so much, they bottle and sell their white dog. But a Colorado distillery should make a western whiskey, so Myers began inserting toasted Aspen tree staves into the barrel for 2-3 weeks before bottling. “My whiskey doesn’t taste like any other whiskey out there,” Myers proudly exclaims.