By Debbie Shocair
Spectrum Spirits hails from North Charleston, South Carolina, (according to the label on the bottle) or Palisades Park, New Jersey (according to their website). Their Cavalry Last Stand is without question a new style American Craft whiskey, but I have some technical issues with calling it a bourbon.
These concerns are not with the fact that unconfirmed speculation points to distillation by MGP in Indiana from a mash bill of 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley, because I do not take issue with sourcing. I do question why there is no mention of MGP or Indiana anywhere on its label or website. The label was approved by the Federal agency TTB, of course, and so is another example of their regulatory slippage.
Cavalry is matured only four months in new American Oak and then treated with a new technology in spirits production, “TerrePURE”, that uses ultrasound and oxidation to reportedly accelerate the maturation process. This process was developed by the Terressentia Corporation, and will reportedly be employed at the revived O.Z. Tyler Distillery (formerly Old Charles Medley) in Owensboro, Kentucky. From the barrel and sonic treatments, it is bottled at a respectable 90 proof.
On the nose, Cavalry smells much more like a decent corn whiskey than anything resembling bourbon. Redolent with corn, candy corn and vanilla, what is missing are the deeper notes bourbon lovers are accustomed to experiencing. It is a very pleasant aroma, on the whole, and different, a bit interesting.
Breaking it with a half teaspoon of water on served to brighten the candy corn aroma and actually put some hard edges on the corn notes.
The mouthfeel proved what TerrePURE claims to affect, even at 90 proof the mouthfeel was a barely-there sense, and there was no burn on the way down. It’s a tonsil-skipper! Cavalry’s finish was sweet, medium length, and actually hinted at pine. It wasn’t unpleasant, but was in no way remarkable.
This new expression tips its hat far closer to being a light whiskey than bourbon, and it goes to show that time-honored production methods for established whiskey varieties continue to stand for a reason. Cavalry might be well-suited for mixing, and in fact there are some lovely cocktail recipes featured on their website.
Retailing at around $27.