If you’ve never tried a glass of neat whiskey with a nice helping of smoked brisket or a rack of barbecue ribs, you haven’t lived yet. Today, smoked whiskey is more popular than ever, with professional bartenders turning it into a craft and amateur bartenders purchasing kits to try their skills at home, infusing their own liquor with hickory or cherry oak for either a subtle or full flavor profile of their choosing. Several distilleries have hopped on board as well, releasing their own smoked bourbons and whiskeys.
Vermont’s own WhistlePig, known for its quality bottles of rye whiskey, has recently partnered with Traeger, the company that invented the pellet grill back in the mid-1980s. This new limited-edition SmokeStock whiskey utilizes Traeger’s Apple Wood pellets from the getgo, smoking the American oak barrels during the aging process and then also smoking the water used to proof down the moonshine when it comes out. Even though the cask-strength liquor becomes diluted, the smokiness isn’t.
Bottled at 86 proof, SmokeStock’s well-balanced smoky notes are apparent right away on the nose, along with the bouquet featuring vanilla and leather. The palate experiences even more of the Apple Wood with the campfire notes pairing perfectly with creamy apple, giving way to a long rye finish.
As the summer — and the backyard grill — heats up, our longing to pair both smokiness and the fiery oak of whiskey can come to an end. Grab yourself a bottle of SmokeStock Wood Fired Whiskey, which is currently available from WhistlePig’s online shop, as well as at select retailers, for $73.