By S.D. Peters
Finger Lakes Distillery, in scenic upstate New York, has established quite a range of products – more than we’ve seen for other micro-distillers. Of their 14 spirit line, six are whiskeys. The Whiskey Reviewer had the opportunity to try their McKenzie Rye Whiskey and McKenzie Bourbon Whiskey, and these reveal that Finger Lakes’ Master Distiller Thomas Earl McKenzie is onto something good.
Like the distillery, Finger Lakes’ finished whiskeys are young, with a touch of youthful but knowing impatience that says they’re ready for the world without falling backwards into the usual compromises that drain idealism from adulthood. If young finished whiskeys show such above-average promise at such an early age, what might Finger Lakes’ unaged White Pike Whiskey hold in store? I tried it, and here’s what I found.
Made with locally grown corn, spelt and malted wheat, White Pike Whiskey is “aged” for a short 18 minutes and bottled at a comfortable 80 proof (40% abv). If it’s the spirit of distilled corn you seek, then pour yourself a glass. Imagine yourself on the back porch of a stone farmhouse. It’s early morning, just before sunrise, and the dew is on the wheat and corn fields. A whiff of turpentine from a nearby tool shed wafts through the lifting fog. Drink in the cool morning air; it’s crisp, spiked with sweet corn and stone ground wheat, and leaves you refreshed, warmed, ready for the day. As you turn to go back inside, pause, and you’ll savor the mild hint of licorice that’s breaking with the dawn.
The recommended cost for a bottle of White Pike Whiskey is $31, and is available primarily in New York, with select distributors in Illinois, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania (only by special order online).