Corsair Distillery is an interesting outfit. And to continue on my American Whiskey kick, they’re next up on the chopping block.
The story behind the distillery is one made out of every homemakers dream book (with ponies on it). Two guys try to make a bio-diesel plant, one mentions they would feel better if they made whiskey, so they did.
Well, they researched their butts off and probably had many a sleepless night mixed with a roaring hangover, however they ended up with an award winning distillery.
So through trades and generally people feeling sorry for me, I was able to swap for some samples. And once my buddy was able to split them with me, I finally got around to reviewing them.
And then making cocktails with creme de cassis. And then a hangover session of Pathfinder Pen and Paper RPG that involved Benny Hill and Slime Demons. But those are stories for another day.
Up first, we reviewed Corsair Rasputin. This is an experimental whisky, and… well, Frankenstein may have had better results (spoilers).
They start by making a Russian Imperial Stout. And I love stout, so that’s a good first step to any process. Need to buy a car? Start by making a Russian Imperial Stout. Need to get to Minnesota to stop a wedding? Start by making a Russian Imperial Stout. Have internal bleeding? Maybe go to the Hospital first.
Anyway, then they turn said Russian Imperial Stout into a whiskey, allowing the vapors of the distillate to pass through hops.
So, it’s time for bias alert: I am not so big on hops. Thus, my buddy, who does enjoy the flavour of hops, had some as well, to ensure that I wasn’t completely off the mark.
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Region: Kentucky / Tennessee
Nose: A bunch of floral hops, lemon, yeast, raspberry, green grapes, asparagus, pastry
Tons of floral hops. Which… I’m not surprised about. Takes some time to get used to, as it’s a lot of hops. Boneshaking amount of hops.
And while the above may sound like a nice mix, there’s this funk that pervades all of it. It’s too much hops, really. Less hops would have allowed the different fruity parts to shine, and this would have smelled closer to a Lowland whisky.
My friend reacts with a grimaced face, turning his nose away from it. He feels bad about asking me to save these samples for him.
Taste: Lemon needles, flower, hops, stale beer
Don’t know lemon needles? Well, grab a fistful of needles, cover them in lemon curd, and stick them on your tongue. That’s the recipe.
It’s a lot of floral notes. As someone who normally really enjoys floral notes, this is too much. And it tastes like skunked beer too.
My tasting friend makes a puckered face. He’s in pain. He hates that he asked me to save these for him to try as well.
Finish: Pop Rocks, toasted… something, lots and lots and even more ginger, earth, smoke, dry
Like ginger? Feel that chewing on ginger is something only you enjoy? Well, then I have a dram for you.
It’s too earthy, at the end of the day.
Conclusion: It’s not pleasant. It could be, and I hope that Batches 9-whatever take this to heart: You need less hops. A nice amount of hops would have made this interesting. Maybe don’t hop the Stout first? Or maybe less hops in the distillate?
I think Grigori Rasputin did less to the Romanovs than this dram did to my tongue. And yet, still tastier than Crown Royal to me. Who’d a thunk it?
Corsair Triple Smoke is up next after a long period of letting our tongues rest, two and a half glasses of water, and some tears.
We didn’t have high hopes. So bias alert: This may be higher because the last one hurt.
Corsair Triple Smoke is made from malted barley that has been evenly divided up, and then each smoked with a different source.
One by Cherry Wood – You’ll recognize that as the genus of tree and shrub that gives us stone fruits. They don’t say which type, so that levels it to us guessing which one of 430 species it is.
The second is Peat. Now I know there’s some bleed between here and /r/scotch (I’m proof of that), however some people don’t know what Peat is. Peat is partially decayed vegetation. When you burn it, you end up with an earth/smoke flavour that is imparted. Oh, and it’s non-renewable, so that’s basically all it should be burned for.
And the final smoke comes from Beechwood. I didn’t find as many different species, and given this is American, I’m going to guess it’s the American Beechwood. Which doesn’t really help me, because I don’t really know much about trees.
Oh well, let’s see how this one tastes.
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Region: Kentucky / Tennessee
Nose: Light smoke, caramel, dragon fruit, light seaweed, BBQ meat, sawdust
Really light nose on this one. Takes some time to tease everything out. That being said, it does have a nice nose. Nothing really overpowers anything, it’s balanced between a little fruit, some caramel, umami, and smoke.
Really light though. Takes some time to really get itself going, like a porn star with ED.
Taste: Oak smoke, toffee, pear, cocoa, brown sugar
Soft smoke on this one. Again, nothing too out there, but balanced. Nice to sip, smooth, and in that good way. Light, fairly common notes, but tasty.
Finish: Smoke, cherry, apple, nutmeg, dry, little salt
Dry finish on this one. Somewhat fruity, which works well with the spice. Tiny bit of salt at the end there. I’m guessing that comes from the Cherry Wood, because why the heck not.
Conclusion: So when I started with this one, I had it lower. And I kept upping the score, slowly and surely. It’s light, yet balanced. Which is rare for a smokey dram.
In the end, I’d have this on hand as a sipper. It’s no peat bomb, which is too bad, yet I think it could be with some more tweaking and way more Abv. Makes up for the rancid shite above, so that’s something.
Finally, and I know I’ll get some hate for this, but this dram is everything I wanted out of Bowmore 12 year. It’s balanced, though light. It’s nice and tasty. Like a little Islay Scotch.
My drinking buddy ended up liking this one a lot. He likes lighted smoked whisky, so it was right up his alley. And by that I do infer anal sex.
Bourbon reviews #44-45, Kentucky/Tennessee reviews #1-2, Whiskey Network reviews #347-348
Special Note: Yes, I’ve reviewed other whiskeys from both Kentucky and Tennessee. Thus you’d think my numbers at the bottom would be higher. However Corsair is located in both states, so these are reviews for distillers in both places, thus making this a pair of Unicorn reviews.