By Richard Thomas
When people think “corn whiskey,” they are usually thinking of a cheap, two-grain unaged and overwhelmingly corn whiskey. That is the sort of thing that gave corn whiskey a bad name, and thankfully the craft whiskey boom and its accompanying white whiskey trend are overturning it. Now there are several eminently drinkable examples of corn whiskey around, and a prime example is Colorado’s Own Corn Whiskey from the Colorado Gold Distillery in Cedaredge.
The first thing those taking a gander at Colorado’s Own should notice is that it has color. The whiskey was aged in Colorado Gold’s own ex-bourbon barrels for some months (aging varies as a barrel is dumped when its ripe), but its enough to give the bottle that I have the kind of pale, translucent yellow that would be normal for some scotches. That combined with the square glass and simple-yet-Victorian style labeling make Colorado’s Own Corn Whiskey exactly the sort of thing I would expect to see on the shelf of an Old West saloon.
The mashbill for Colorado’s Own is reportedly 85% corn, 10% wheat and 5% malted barley, and the whiskey is bottled at 40% abv. Between the wheat and the used bourbon barrel aging, I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised when instead of the usual grassy corn husk scent, this stuff smells something like candy corn… albeit candy corn wrapped in a grassy corn husk.
On the palate, this corn whiskey has a silky texture, and that in spite of a crisp, almost tart note. The taste struck me as more cerealesque instead of corn sweet, making it more mellow and better suited to that modest caramel note the time-in-wood gives it. The finish leaves a nice, mild afterglow.
Usually I reach for a good corn whiskey during my summertime drinking, when I appreciate its light, simple and smooth virtues. Colorado’s Own has all that, but brings along some sophistication as well. As a slightly aged whiskey, it is a whole order of magnitude better than Jacob’s Ghost, and it is a must-try for any devotees of corn whiskey or white whiskey.
Colorado’s Own Corn Whiskey goes for $27 or $28.