By Debbie Shocair
If you ever want to get a sense of the passion that is behind America’s craft whiskey revolution, look no further than Dave and Shelly McGlothern’s Bad Dog Distillery in Arlington, Washington. And yes, there actually is a Bad Dog. His name is Hank, although I suspect he’s not really all that bad if his family named their distillery for him.
Dave tells the (now very familiar) story of the family having moonshined in the past, and in 2012 he and his wife Shelly decided it was time to put their efforts into making Bad Dog Distillery a reality. If you care to see how hard they worked to get it up and operating, check out Shelly’s blog from those early days. Today, the McGlotherns are making real grain-to-glass American craft whiskey, sourcing all of their grains from Washington state and distilling in a hand-crafted copper still built by Dave himself. Their Bourbon is a high-corn, two grain mash bill, made from 82% corn and 18% barley. If they took a different path after the fermenters, it would be corn whiskey.
On the nose, Bad Dog’s 90 proof Bourbon was simple, but very nice, with strong notes of vanilla, molasses and caramel corn. Breaking it with ½ teaspoon of water made the vanilla even more prominent, and revealed some lovely aromas of taffy.
The mouthfeel was only at the tip of the tongue. Nowhere else, which seemed strange for a hefty 90 proof spirit.
The finish was lovely, long and interesting. You know I enjoy an interesting whiskey. What begins with a short burst of toasted cereal grain, vanilla and caramel (think… Sugar Smacks breakfast cereal), then evolves to a lingering sense of cinnamon. Really quite nice.
It retails for around $40 and is a prize if you can find it, which may be a problem because it is currently only available for sale in Washington State.