- DISTILLER: Frey Ranch Distillery
- MASH BILL: 100% slow-grown barley that is grown, harvested – and now smoked – and then milled and distilled –– on the Frey Ranch farm.
- AGE: 6 Years
- YEAR: 2023
- PROOF: 110 Proof (50% ABV)
- MSRP: $59.22
- BUY ONLINE: Frey Ranch Website
SHARE WITH: Anyone (especially bourbon drinkers) struggling to find an American single malt they like.
WORTH THE PRICE: Even though the SRP is steep for a 375ml bottle (equating to a 750ml bottle cost of $120), it's an impressive enough example of what an American single malt can be to be worth grabbing a bottle if you're interested in the category.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: I'm giving this one a BOTTLE rating for those who #DrinkCurious and are actively exploring the American single malt category to find an expression that convinces them to purchase a second bottle. Those not ready to commit to an entire bottle of an American single malt should try this at a bar or a friend's house.
OVERALL: I'm a long-time fan of Frey Ranch Distillery. Since visiting the ranch years ago, I've closely watched everything Colby and his team released to the market. So when I heard he was releasing a smoked American single malt–smoked in his own custom-built smoker, no less–I was eager to try it out.
A bit of context before I say another word. I still struggle to find an American single malt that excites me. I'm at a point where I've started to believe that I don't like what the category equates to regarding a whiskey product and its flavor profile. With that attitude in hand, I sampled Frey Ranch's Smoked expression.
The nose immediately got my attention. Robust. Complex. Inviting. All the excitement of a big, bold bourbon but with a twist. Sweet tobacco, campfire smoke, and cocoa combine making it one of the most compelling whiskey aromas I've experienced this year.
The palate has a pungent smoke flavor balanced perfectly by leather and sweet tobacco. Wow! There's ample spice in the finish left dancing on my tongue as it lingers and mellows into a delightful medley of sweet tobacco, malt balls and unidentifiable fruity notes. (Frey Ranch's notes also indicate huckleberry, but I haven't tasted those before. But they could be one of the sweeter influences I couldn't identify personally.)
This is a big, distinctive and beautiful whiskey. But for some, it's 110 proof may be a bit too much for their palate. The good news is this whiskey holds up well to a dash of water to tame the heat while bringing out even lighter and sweeter flavors to keep you coming back for another sip.
If you're looking for a whiskey to end the year on a high note, Frey Ranch's Smoked American Single Malt is an excellent bottle to add to your collection. And it's a great example of what I would love to see more of from the American single malt category.
Frey Ranch American Single Malt Smoked Whiskey is designed for sipping, offering a rich and robust character that pairs delightfully with smoked gouda, blue cheese, or chocolate. With every sip, you're transported to the heart of the farm, where craftsmanship and passion converge to create an unforgettable whiskey experience.
- Nose: Captivating aromas of campfire, huckleberry, and sweet pipe tobacco.
- Palate: Hints of leather with a velvety, thick yet soft mouthfeel.
- Finish: Lingering and delightful taste of sweet cigarillo.
This extraordinary whiskey is a testament to the unwavering dedication of Co-Founder and Whiskey Farmer, Colby Frey and Master Distiller Russell Wedlake. With a strong commitment to quality, they oversaw the entire process from slow-growing the barley to smoking it on the Frey Ranch farm. What truly sets this American Single Malt apart is Frey Ranch's ingenious approach. Colby + Russell personally crafted the smoker, repurposing an old grain silo and a fireplace, imparting a distinctive smokiness to the whiskey.
Disclaimer: Bourbon & Banter received a sample of this product from the brand for review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.