- DISTILLER: Wonderland Distilling
- MASH BILL: Three single-ingredient whiskies (corn, rye, wheat) aged separately and blended at cask strength.
- AGE: NAS
- YEAR: 2021
- PROOF: 117-123 (59-62% ABV) My sample was 119.85 (59.93% ABV)
- MSRP: $61.99
- PURCHASE: Currently only available at select Michigan restaurants, bars, and retailers.
NOSE: Very approachable, given the proof | Corn | Caramel | Cigar | Cinnamon-raisin bread | Wet wood
TASTE: Rye spice | Dark fruit | The salt and pepper of a good steak rub
FINISH: Very warming | Quite long | Drying | Vanilla | A little medicinal | A lot of oak
SHARE WITH: Your drinking buddies that like full-proof and cask-strength whiskies.
WORTH THE PRICE: A cask-strength whiskey this good at $62 is worth the price all day for me.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Bottle (if you're lucky enough to be in Michigan to find it)
OVERALL: Last October I reviewed the first whiskey offering out of Wonderland and really enjoyed it. I like it when smaller distilleries try to do their own thing, rather than try to copy the big boys and beat them at a game they've perfected. The idea of blending three straight whiskies together that are all aged separately is not 100% novel, but is unique enough to give the folks at Wonderland a niche in the market. The only critique I had in my review last year was that I felt it had been proofed down too far and that a bottling at 90-100 proof would allow it to really shine. I'm not sure if they were paying attention to little-old-me when they decided to create this cask-strength offering, but I certainly jumped at the chance to review it when given the opportunity!
This expression was everything I thought last year's sample could have been and I really enjoyed returning to it while I was preparing my notes for this review! I mentioned last time that I differed a lot from the brand's tasting notes in that I didn't pick up any of the familiar bourbon notes that they advertised: corn, vanilla, caramel, etc. In the cask-strength version, I picked up much more of these, while still noticing several unique flavors that allow this to stand out as something worthy of a spot on your bar aside from just being an affordable cask-strength whiskey.
While I imagine this bottle to be difficult to come by, I hope that this is received well by Michiganders and that the folks at Wonderland keep doing what they're doing! Hopefully they'll continue to grow in the future so that more of us can regularly get our hands on their juice and #drinkcurious!
Wonderland Cask Strength Blend of Straight Whiskies
TASTING NOTES: Starts with a strong yet tempered aroma of brown sugar, butterscotch, caramel popcorn and pumpernickel toast. Hints of plum and dried fruits contrast perfectly with rye spice and white pepper to provide complexity. Heavy oak, toffee and bold vanilla dominate the medium-long finish.
WONDERLAND DISTILLING RELEASES LIMITED-EDITION CASK-STRENGTH WHISKEY
Muskegon Craft Distillery’s High ABV Blend of Straight Whiskeys Available This Month
MUSKEGON, Mich. – Muskegon-based craft distillery Wonderland Distilling is releasing a limited-edition, cask-strength whiskey into the market on May 1. The distillery’s second product follows the successful launch of its first product, a Blend of Straight Whiskeys. Created from individually- aged rye, corn and wheat whiskeys, the blend is expertly crafted by the Wonderland team for a truly unique, Michigan-inspired profile and taste.
Wonderland’s Cask Strength Blend of Straight Whiskeys starts with a strong, yet tempered aroma of brown sugar, butterscotch, caramel popcorn and pumpernickel toast. Hints of plum and dried fruits contrast perfectly with rye spice and white pepper to provide complexity. Heavy oak, toffee and bold vanilla dominate the medium-length finish. The whiskey is bottled at full cask strength, ranging from 117-123 proof, and less than 150 bottles from each batch will be released.
Wonderland’s whiskeys are blended using the traditional Canadian method, with each grain—corn, wheat and rye—distilled on its own. By distilling, barreling and aging them separately, then blending them after maturation, Wonderland whiskey is blended with purpose to create a consistent flavor profile.
“We are handcrafting other spirits as well, including gin and vodka, but overall Wonderland is a whiskey distillery, and our cocktail bar is a whiskey bar,” said Mark Gongalski, CEO of Wonderland Distilling Company. “For the serious whiskey drinkers, we’re kicking it up a few notches with this release that’s not proofed down, which really showcases the intense depth of flavors in our blending process.”
Both of Wonderland’s first whiskey releases are created primarily from individually aged, Michigan-distilled rye and wheat whiskeys from partnering distilleries across the state, hand-blended with purpose to create a specific taste profile. Wonderland also began distilling its own whiskey in 2020.
“Now that we’ve had some time to settle into our space and experiment a bit with flavor profiles and new aging techniques for our spirits, our customers can expect to see some more interesting releases coming later this year,” said Allen Serio, chief marketing officer. “We want to continue innovating and pushing the limits, to ensure we’re bottling the very best of what Michigan has to offer. This whiskey will truly be a collector’s item for any whiskey lover.”
Wonderland’s cocktail bar, located at 1989 Lakeshore Drive in Muskegon’s Lakeside neighborhood, serves handcrafted cocktails created using exclusively Wonderland spirits, along with locally-sourced meals and small plates focused on local ingredients. The cocktail bar can also create canned cocktails, for guests to enjoy at home, or on their favorite Michigan adventure.
Disclaimer: Wonderland Distilling provided Bourbon & Banter with a sample of their product for this review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.