Produced by a small distillery in Portland, Oregon, that is primarily known for their baijiu (being the first to produce the spirit stateside), Vinn Distillery’s whiskey is also another first—it is the first rice whiskey produced in the US.
With that in mind, this whiskey conforms to the laws that would allow it to be considered actual whiskey, having been aged in a new American oak barrel with a heavy char (#4) on it, et cetera. The spirit that goes into it is, basically, their baijiu (more on that in the link above), which is created by utilizing jiuqu, a product similar to koji (used in sake, among other products) that converts starches to sugars for the yeast to feed on and turn into alcohol.
Appearance: A mix between straw gold and a light amber.
Nose: There’s a light oak character on the nose that is followed by sweet praline and a good bit of nuttiness. A little bit of vanilla comes through as well.
Palate: Vanilla sweetness to start, followed by caramel-covered nuts and a creamy texture. A little bit of dark chocolate on back end that leads into the dry finish.
Finish: A medium-long, dry oak finish bolstered with hints of cinnamon. There’s a bit of warmth along the gums to finish it all out.
Final Thoughts: This is an interesting whiskey. It manages to maintain the oak and vanilla notes you would expect in a whiskey, while bringing a little something different to the table due to the base grain used. The biggest thing with this rice whiskey is availability. Vinn only creates a small amount at a time, which is then bottled in 375 mL bottles. If you’re in the Portland area, then it’s recommended to swing by their tasting room and pick some up. It’s not every day that you get to try a whiskey made from rice, and for whiskey fanatics out there, it’d be a fun thing to bring to a party to surprise some people. If you can’t make it to Portland, you can pick up a bottle at Crafted Life, linked below.
Vinn Whiskey is 43% ABV and retails for around $45 here.