By S.D. Peters
I previously tried FEW Rye Whiskey for The Whiskey Reviewer, and rather enjoyed it. As mentioned in that review, I also took a certain vicarious pleasure in FEW Distillery proprietor Paul Hletko’s choice for the name: Frances Elizabeth Willard, the famous (or, from our perspective, infamous) leader of the Women’s Temperance Union in Evanston, Illinois, the home of FEW Distillery. So much so, I thought it was worth mentioning again.
Also worthy of restatement is Hletko’s quote from a September 18, 2011, Chicago Tribune feature: “Taking the flavor out of… grain by distilling it into vodka is the opposite of what I want my spirits to be.”
There is no purer proof (pardon the pun) that Hletko is true to his word than his FEW White Whiskey.
Like the FEW Rye, FEW White Whiskey comes in a thick, crystalline bottle. A paper seal covers its corked stopper, and a simple-yet-chic front-mounted paper label also bears a sepia image reminiscent of the Chicago World’s Fair: a hot-hair balloon gliding gracefully over the fair’s exhibit buildings.
Bottled at a mere 80 Proof (40% abv), FEW White Whiskey is a tame clear whiskey. But without the intense burn common to the higher alcohol content of unaged whiskey, the flavor of the corn is allowed to breathe – not surprising for a mashbill that’s 70% corn, with 20% wheat and 10% row malt.
To the nose, there’s a hint of petrol that quickly gives way to a musty stone and sweet corn and summer wheat. The whiskey is mild and cool, which means you can let it linger while the flavors of corn, grass, dew and mineral water reveal themselves. The finish is dry, with a fleecy warmth that fades into a silky smoothness and a hint of sweet corn.
The phrase “goes down like water” comes to mind, only this is water with a crisp corn flavor. If white whiskey is lately being crafted to quench a thirst for distilled grain, then FEW White Whiskey is an oasis.
The average price for a 750 ml. bottle of FEW White Whiskey is $45 for a bottle. In our FEW Rye Whiskey review, we noted that FEW products were available in the vicinity of greater Chicago, IL, or Nashville, TN. FEW’s Brand Manager/Distiller, Brooke Saucier, let us know that FEW products can also be found in Wisconsin, California, New York, Washington, Oregon, Michigan, Minnesota and Washington, DC.