By Father John Rayls
Painted Stave Distilling, a micro-distillery in Delaware, has named its whiskey line “Diamond State,” and their Diamond State Bourbon is two years old and bottled at 92 proof. I got to try the second batch from this fairly new distillery, which was just released this month and represents a four fold increase in number of filled bottles produced over the first batch.
Founders Ron Gomes, Jr. and Mike Rasmussen started their distillery in 2011, originally named Legacy Distilling, in an old 1940s era movie house in downtown Smyrna. In the micro-distilling boom, it’s a hot ticket item to claim being the first to do something, either since Prohibition or (better still) ever, and Painted Stave lays claim to making the first Delaware Bourbon since America’s that nationwide liquor ban.
Aging for Diamond State Bourbon was done in 10 gallon barrels. In terms of small barrel whiskey, those aren’t tiny casks, but certainly on the small side of middling. The mash bill is of the high rye type, with 65% corn, 26% rye and 9% malted barley.
The color in both bottle and glass is a medium brown, with a reddish tint in the bottle and a golden tint in the glass. The legs are long and ready.
The nose is of moderate strength, and leads with young oak and some light banana before throwing in some more young oak. Some very light alcohol burn is also present.
The first sip imparts a very creamy mouthfeel, then the action jumps almost immediately to the back of the mouth on the tongue and the upper and lower throat regions. The palate gets some licorice and young oak over some light fruit.
To be honest, it drinks hot. It hits in the throat area and really dominates the tasting. The finish is long and filled with pepper and extends for a significant period of time and mixes with the burn while it definitely grabs your attention.
I rarely add water or ice, but this experience is significantly improved with a single ice cube. It cools the heat and smooths out the flavor for a much more enjoyable experience. This would definitely be my method of choice for this whiskey.
Painted Stave is currently supplying outlets in Maryland and Pennsylvania, as well as Delaware, plus online retailers. The first batch sold out in just 45 minutes, but this second batch is much bigger and ought to last longer. You should find it selling in the $40.00 neighborhood.