By Richard Thomas
One of the most interesting outcomes of the recent boom in small distilleries is how former traditional whiskey states, like Pennsylvania and Virginia, are not at the forefront. Instead it’s western states that lead the pack, states like Colorado with outfits like Colorado Gold Distillery. This Cedar Ridge-based outfit, nestled in the mountains between four national forests and conservation areas, has a bourbon, a corn whiskey, and a rye, the latter two being single barrel bottlings.
As I discovered with their Colorado’s Own Corn Whiskey, Colorado Gold doesn’t shirk the presentation side of things. Whereas the corn whiskey came in a package that would have blended right into the liquor shelf of an Old West saloon, Colorado Gold Rye’s look blends antique old with stylish retro. The tall, clear glass bottle has plenty of appointments, but not so many as to get in the way of showing off the liquid inside. The wax stamp seal crowns a decidedly 1930s/1940s style label, and the wood and cork stopper is a nice touch.
Colorado Gold Rye is a one-year old high rye, with a 95% rye, 5% malted barley mashbill, and finished with honeycomb staves. The whiskey is bottled at 90 proof (45% abv), with mine coming from an August 2014 bottling of barrel #7.
As I implied earlier, the color is a pleasing one, a light-to-middle amber along the lines of some of the summer sun teas I make. The nose tells the story one finds throughout sipping on this whiskey: light, dry and spicy. The flavor shows a little more fresh honey, rye cereal flavor, and the spicy side shows more of an anise aspect, but what predominates here is a the toasty, peppery dryness. The finish follows the light texture, delivering a lingering warmth that is both mellow and moderate.
This is a young whiskey, but the combination of the Colorado mountain climate and the honeycomb insert finish has given it some pleasing characteristics. If you are looking for a craft whiskey alternative to the by now familiar flavor profile of MGP’s high rye stock, Colorado Gold Rye is a good bet.
Although most listings I’ve seen for Colorado Gold Rye put it in the $45 to $52 range, I have seen it priced at $35.