Pure Spirits: Dry Fly Washington Bourbon 101 & The Avenue

If you should have asked yourself whether there is also a bourbon made at the Dry Fly distillery while reading my recent articles about the Dry Fly Cask Strength Straight Wheat Whiskey or the Dry Fly Port Finish Wheat Whiskey, today it is exactly about that. However, being a “Washington Bourbon” it is not really a classic one. But of course, a bourbon that is not a “Kentucky Straight Bourbon” can also be a really good bourbon. (provided test product*)

I had already written some lines about the founding background and the heads behind the Dry Fly Distilling Inc. brand in my article about the Dry Fly Cask Strength Straight Wheat Whiskey (see above for the link). But the fact that the two founders Don Poffenroth and Kent Fleischmann are great enthusiasts of fly fishing hardly becomes more obvious than by the design of today’s bottle. The backside of the bottle is studded with confessions about the passion of fly fishing alongside some funny statements that will encourage you to buy a bottle of it. The name of this bourbon simply refers to its alcoholic strength – 101 proof corresponds to an ABV of 50.5% vol.

In fact, this bourbon is actually a historical one: never before was a Bourbon officially and legally produced in the Evergreen State, the state of Washington. Just as the Hudson Baby Bourbon is a pioneer in the state of New York, we are dealing here with the pioneer of bourbon making in the outmost Northwest of the USA. Fortunately, the manufacturer provides fairly accurate information on the type of barrel, the maturation time and the composition of the grain mixture for the mash: the grain mixture for the Dry Fly Washington Bourbon 101 Proof consists of 60% corn, 20% wheat and 20% barley. The whiskey is then allowed to mature in 53 gallon barrels of American white oak for at least 3 years (that’s about 200 liters). But how does the first Bourbon Whiskey of Washington taste?

Tasting Notes:

Aroma: This Bourbon is definitely more on the spicy side of its genre, which I do like a lot. On the nose, the typical vanilla character of the bourbon is discreetly subtle, but plenty of cinnamon, oak, some cloves and fine honey emerge. After some time, the vanilla also finds its way.

Taste: The Dry Fly Bourbon 101 Proof also shows its spicy character on the palate: cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, nutmeg, a little liquorice and distinct oak leave no doubt: this bourbon has a lot to offer. It reminds me a little bit of the Four Roses Single Barrel, which I also greatly appreciate.

Finish: a dry, yet spicy finish with vanilla

As a cocktail I decided to make a classic Bourbon drink today, a drink which can however only be found on very few bar menus. It listens to the name “The Avenue” and for the first time appears in a recipe book from 1937, the Café Royal Cocktail Book which was written by William J. Tarling and published by the United Kingdom Bartenders Guild. However, according to Tarling, the drink was invented by W. G. Crompton, probably another member of the United Kingdom Bartenders Guild. The cocktail seems to be a little bold and adventurous with its composition of bourbon, calvados, passion fruit juice, grenadine and orange blossom water, but it is an aromatic revelation! If you do not want to make a passion fruit juice yourself (in a juicer or by straining the inside of a passion fruit through a fine sieve), you can also use Passionfruit nectar. This will make the drink sweeter. Personally, I prefer the variant with pure juice, but you’ll have to find out for yourself. The drink itself is definitely not as sweet as you might expect it to be!

Recipe “The Avenue” (volume ratios slightly adjusted by me):

3 cl Dry Fly Washington Bourbon 101 Proof
2.5 cl Daron Calvados XO
3 cl fresh passion fruit juice (or 2.5 cl passion fruit nectar)
1 Dash orange blossom water
1 bar spoon grenadine

Preparation: Shake all the ingredients vigorously on ice and strain into a pre-chilled glass (if you have made the passion fruit juice yourself, it can be better to do a double-strain).

Glass: Coupette

Garnish: none

Buying sources: At specialized retailers or online.

*The fact that this product has been sent to me free of charge for editorial purposes does not – in any way – imply any influence on the content of this article or my rating. On the contrary, it is always an indispensable condition for me to be able to review without any external influence.

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