Whiskey + Enthusiasts = Awesome!

I recently attended my first meeting of the San Diego Whisk(e)y Enthusiasts club.  What’s better than a room full of people that enjoy whiskey? Nothing I can think of!  This meeting was going to be a tasting of Colorado whiskey, so I thought that was a perfect way to get introduced to the group.  Little did I know there was more in store…!

The young lady that was our MC for the evening was going off to Colorado to continue her education in neurobiology – yes, a science nerd led our tasting, how awesome! – and the thought was to also give her an intro to the whiskies she’d soon find readily available. Since I wasn’t sure what to expect from the meeting I didn’t take official tasting notes, so this post isn’t an official review of any of these whiskies, but will give you a basic idea of what they’re like. I’d say grab a bottle if you see them, try it out!CO Whiskies

Peach Street Distillers Straight Bourbon Whiskey was the first taste of the night. This is a tasty bourbon, coming in a 92 proof. I like the quirkiness of their brand (read The Story), and their juice is smooth, sweet and easy drinking.

Leopold Bros. has a lineup that not only includes bourbon, but also gin, absinthe and liqueurs. I haven’t had the opportunity to try anything beyond their whiskey, but if everything else is the same quality, you can be sure you’re getting great spirits not matter which one you try.

Breckenridge Distillery also makes whiskey, vodka and bitters. Their whiskey has a slightly higher amount of rye (to be bourbon, it has to be at least 51% corn, but the rest is up to the distiller). That green rye gives it probably the most bite of the five whiskies in the lineup. I like a little spice to my whiskey sometimes, and Breckenridge delivers that nicely.

Tin Cup Whiskey is made by the guy that also did the last entry on our list, Stranahan’s. There was some lively debate over who actually distills Tin Cup, since it doesn’t say it’s actually distilled in Colorado. Looking at the website, it wasn’t 100% clear to me, either.  Since he also doesn’t call his whiskey “craft liquor”, I’ll leave the debate about who makes it for another day. Taste-wise the least favorite of the 5 for me, but a decent pour.

Stranahan’s was the last of the evening, from Colorado at least (spoiler alert!). Another side-note: while they do make the hooch in Denver (I took the tour there a few months back), they’re owned by Proximo Spirits, home of Jose Cuervo and Three Olives. Take that as you will. Their whiskey is also decent, with their limited-release Snowflake that has a nearly cult following.

Our surprise guest of the evening was Jeffrey Karlovitch, CEO USA and Master Blender for The Lost Distillery Company. While this isn’t a site about Scotch, I wanted to mention it since it was a tasty!  You can read more about it here (and my other musings on big label whiskies).

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our whiskey instigator and organizer, Al Silebi. If you’re looking for a bottle of something hard to find, Al’s your guy (at least locally). Head on over to Facebook where you can join the group if you’re in SD. (and if you are, I expect to see you there!)  And just to make you slightly more jealous, here’s a small piece of the whiskey selection available at our gracious hosts, KnB Wine Cellars, my new 2nd home! KnB Walljpg

About Jeanne Runkle

Jeanne Runkle currently lives in San Diego, and is a certified bartender and craft liquor expert. Her specialty is the brown stuff, whether it's bourbon, rye or good old American whiskey. She can sometimes be found stalking the aisles of a liquor store near you, answering your random whiskey questions.

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