I first heard about Corsair Distillery when I was active with the Barley Mob Brewers of Chattanooga. We were friendly with the Nashville area Music City Brewers, many of whom were friends with the founders of Corsair. When I started to really get interested in scotch, I found an early love for the peated Islays. Picking up a smoked American Malt Whiskey was a no-brainer. I bought this bottle at Vine & Barrel in Hixson, TN for around $40. This is only the second dram I’ve had from this bottle, so we’re still in first impressions territory.
We take three fractions of malted barley, each smoked by a different fuel – cherry wood, peat, and beechwood – to craft this deeply complex whiskey. Pot distilled then barreled in new charred oak, triple smoke has the sweetness and barrel notes of an American whiskey and a single malt’s rich smoke, broadened by tones of cherry and beech. Excellent mixed or neat.
Dark tan/copper color. Nice glass-coating legs. Clarity is moderately hazy. Presumably this whiskey is not chill-filtered so there are likely a lot of fatty acids and proteins from distillation and the barrel.
This thing is a cherry-bomb right off the bat, reminiscent of cherry NyQuil. As it opens up, a nice oakiness comes out with a hint of lime. Light sniffs yield charred oak and butterscotch.
The first sip brings the smoky charred cherry flavor I expected from the aroma. There’s a nice earthy tone, no doubt from the peat. A buttery creaminess is pervasive. There’s a lot of oak character that lays over the top of everything. The flavors don’t change much in the mouth. You get everything almost at once and it stays with nothing but oak in the finish.
Creamy, buttery, and smooth. This whiskey fills and coats the mouth with an ever-so-slight tingle that doesn’t rise past the palate and into the nose. For a smoked offering that’s aged in new charred oak, there’s surprisingly little astringency here. The finish is surprisingly short considering the immensity in the mouth.
This is a distinct whiskey that’s nice but not terribly complex. Peated single malt fans may find this whiskey uninteresting and too buttery. The finish is far too quick for an hour of contemplation over a pour. But for other American whiskey fans, this is a compelling booze. The cherrywood and peat figure nicely without being too loud. The oakiness that blankets everything (likely enhanced by the beechwood) should entice any bourbon drinker. Corsair Triple Smoke is easily worth the asking price and I’d recommend it to any American whisky fan looking to add some smoke to their evening wind-down.