Wyoming Whiskey Bourbon Review


By Richard Thomas

Rating: C+

Wyoming Whiskey

Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch Bourbon
(Credit: Richard Thomas)

When it comes to America’s booming craft whiskey scene, I often refer to a three-way tussle between Colorado, New York and Texas over which one will become the country’s third whiskey state, after Kentucky and Tennessee. Yet the mushrooming micro-distillery sector is hardly confined to just these three. It’s almost everywhere in the United States, and there are even places with just one micro outfit making whiskey, such as Wyoming.

Wyoming Whiskey is the state’s first legal distillery, reportedly started by Brad and Kate Mead and David DeFazio, who then invited Steve Nally to come help them make bourbon. Nally is the name most bourbon enthusiasts might recognize, as he is a Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame inductee who spent 33 years at Maker’s Mark, almost half of them as Master Distiller.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of Nally’s experience shows in the Wyoming Whiskey production process. I often thought Maker’s Mark’s stories read like they would work just as well in a bakery as in a distillery, and Wyoming Whiskey has the same kind of ring to it, what with the grains being ground fresh every day. Most distilleries have a good water story too, and to keep the iron out Wyoming Whiskey draws on a limestone aquifer some 40 odd miles distant.

Wyoming Whiskey Small Batch came out in 2012 and was the first release from the company, followed in November 2014 by their single barrel bourbon.

The Bourbon
Despite not claiming the straight bourbon designation, the whiskey is a four year old and aged in standard, 53-gallon new oak barrels. The mashbill is 68% corn, 20% wheat, 12% malted barley, drawing on non-GMO crops grown within 100 miles of the distillery, making the bourbon firmly rooted in not just Wyoming, but its own particular corner of Wyoming. It’s a small batch (an unsurprising point for a small distillery), made from dumps of about 15 barrels.

Early releases were aged for four years, and the current bourbon is aged five years, and the whiskey is bottled at 88 proof (44% abv, in homage to Wyoming’s being the 44th state). My own is from batch 25, made in November 2014.

Some croakers have noted that age claim and observed that the label doesn’t say “straight bourbon,” and being croakers they said something fishy must be going on. “We didn’t want to clutter the label with more information,” said founder David DeFazio. “[Small batch] was a better descriptor for what we are doing.”

The nose is floral, leaning in the direction of wildflowers and herbs, telling you right away that it is a wheated bourbon. The scent also packs a hefty current of caramel. Yet at the same time I thought it was also just a little a bit on the rough and hot side.

The liquid has a light character on the tongue, with a flavor that is quite sweet, like a caramel candy topped with a sprinkling of powdered sugar. A note of green, wet wood is present, but not heavy. The flavor is altogether a different creature from the nose, as is the finish, which leaves a warm, but quite light afterglow.

I got to spend some time with Wyoming Whiskey, and I discovered I liked it best on the rocks. Even in the deep chill of the ice it holds its character well, at least until the ice melts so much as to dilute it. Thus, I’ve put the bottle aside and plan to bring it back out for summertime drinking, to which I think it is very well suited.

If I don’t know better, I would guess this bourbon is younger than it actually is, so I’m looking forward to asking Steve Nally about what the Wyoming climate is doing with his maturation process.

The Price
The retailers I saw priced Wyoming Whiskey at between $45 and $50.

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  1. I picked up a bottle of Wyoming Whiskey in Dallas on my last visit.
    I believe it was Batch 28. It was surprisingly good compared to some of the comments about previous batches. At 45 bucks it was worth the money and its all homegrown stuff, which makes it authentic. Not like some of the other poser whiskies I have tried and do not disclose their origin.

  2. Pretty good whiskey. I had some last week, August 2015, while in Wyoming. I agree with the reviews. A good, easy sipping whiskey. I thought I could detect a little sage. For a fifth, $50 is a little pricey. I stuck with Crown Royal and Kalispell Cloudburst IPA to take the edge off a lot of miles. PS. The Red Lodge Bad Medicine is also a real good brew. Happy trails.

  3. I was excited to try a bottle being a Wyoming native. However at that price I’ll buy 2 bottles of Larceny for a couple of bucks more and wait to try it in a bar where I won’t feel the financial need to love it.

  4. I first tasted WW in 2014 (small batch) and found it okay. However after visiting Jackson in November 2014 and picking up the single barrel version I found it very enjoyable and would not go back to the small batch. My wife, not usually a whiskey drinker, really enjoyed it also.

  5. I just tried batch #30 and the Bourbon is excellent. It was a gift so I did not know how much is costs.
    After we finished off the bottled we looked for a replacement bottle to bring to a friend NYE part and found it in Chicago for 39.99. Thought the whiskey over delivered for that price. Especially at 5 years old. Hard to find craft whiskey at that age from its own distillery.

  6. My whiskey sampling buddy invited me over for a try and I was quite pleased. Very smooth, wheated flavor (which I admit appeals to me). Just enough corn to keep it balanced. I thought it was a really good bourbon for the money and will certainly buy a couple bottles of my own. The same can’t be said for several of the 30 or so bottles in my collection that cost a lot more than this offering.

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