By Richard Thomas
Although Colorado’s Stranahan’s Distillery was one of the trailblazers of the craft whiskey movement, not just in that state but in the U.S. as a whole, one of the ironies is that few actually followed in their path. Whereas most micro-distilleries throw themselves into a whole range of spirits—sourced and in-house; white and brown—Stranahan’s focused squarely on the one thing: making Colorado malt whiskey.
Stranahan’s was so focused, in fact, that it was several years between the introduction of their flagship brand and its brand extensions. The core Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey came out in 2006, and even after being acquired by Proximo in 2010, it was not until 2013 and 2014 that the company introduced Stranahan’s Snowflake and Stranhan’s Diamond Peak.
Diamond Peak is essentially an older sibling for the core, yellow labeled whiskey. Whereas the standard Stranahan’s is aged from 2 to 5 years, Diamond Peak is reportedly a minimum four years old. Otherwise it’s the same malt new make spirit, barreling and warehousing, and bottled at 94 proof.
Diamond Peak doesn’t appear that much older just for leaning towards the top of the Stranahan’s age range: it’s still a golden whiskey in the glass. That said, it does seem like a more viscous liquid than the standard Stranahan’s. A swish drops a few skinny legs, as a crown forms at the top of the coating and stubbornly holds in place.
The nose has a certain quality where honey buns meet banana bread: baked cereals with a rich honey sweetening, spiced with vanilla, cinnamon and a little apple mint, and a dollop of banana. It’s a just plain yummy scent.
On the palate, the silky liquid ponies up more of that bakery sweets profile. Shortcake with dried fruits, honey, vanilla, and a note of ginger on the backside. That ginger turns a bit peppery on the finish, leaving a light, but lingering, afterglow.
A tasty and easy-drinking pour, were it not for some of the things coming out of Westland Distillery, I would call Diamond Peak the best of the American Malts.
Stranahan’s Diamond Peak goes for approximately $20 higher than it’s sibling, running about $80 a bottle.