Iron Smoke Whiskey: The Joy of Less being More

Upstate New York is known for its breath-taking sceneries and a laidback, leisurely pace of life. How, then, can some delightful whiskey be left out of the picture? The region has also been put on the map by one Iron Smoke Distillery, the breeding ground of some fine, smoked bourbon whiskies. Maverick rock star, Tommy Brunnet and mates toyed with the idea of marrying whiskey and the rock culture on a larger scale. What started out as backyard experiments of blending corn whiskey and charred apple chunks soon became a serious business idea.

Accidental Revolution

Brunnet, along with master distiller, Drew Wescott soon set the ball rolling for Iron Smoke Distillery. The year was 2012. Initially, the distillery intended to extend the backyard experimentations, but they soon realised that they needed to get organised. After initially renting a property at Seneca Falls, the distillery moved to Fairport, in part due to rising demand. At its new and own home, Iron Smoke was empowered with a 30-foot-long smoker and a high-capacity grain storage. But, what is phenomenal about Brunnet and his partners’ outlook to developing a truly home-grown whiskey is their policy of procuring the ingredients from within a 15-mile radius of the distillery. This effort is directed at empowering the local farmers and boosting the local economy.

Iron Smoke whiskey uses bourbon mash bill with the key ingredients being rye, wheat, corn, and smoked barley. Before mashing and milling the grains, they are smoked with Applewood, giving the whiskey a pleasant note and texture. Post distillation, the whiskey is aged in virgin American barrels that are triple charred. Only the highest quality grains are selected for the distillation process. The surplus is returned to the farmers for cattle fodder. This hand-crafted whiskey is now available in seven states in the US and is also finding takers in the UK. Iron Smoke is intent on offering only small batches of their whiskey in order to keep it special and delivering connoisseur quality.

Bright amber in hue, this 40% ABV/80 proof whiskey has remarkable aromatic qualities. Sweet to the nose, it has smoky notes of stewed apples, cinnamons and oak. On the palate, the whiskey has generous notes of charcoal, butterscotch, clove and bacon. As a result of the various ingredients and the innovative distillation process, the finish is understandably complex but smooth, with notes of fruits and pie. On the whole, this bourbon whiskey packs a punch while doing justice to all the fruity and spicy notes. No wonder then that that the demand for the whiskey is shooting through the roof. The whiskey has also great responses at prestigious events like Rattlesnake Rosie’s Apple Pie and North American Bourbon and Whiskey Competition.

Something for Everyone

Iron Smoke’s mascot, Skully, promises more than just whiskey. He offers an experience. Given the whiskey’s inherent nature, it is neither too strong, nor too light, making it an easy favourite across segments. While the traditional whiskey drinkers would prefer a straight pour-and-drink, the more experimental drinkers have an array of cocktails to choose from. With smoky, fruity notes, this whiskey makes for delectable cocktails. A few of them come highly recommended by Skully.

‘Left Right Center’ is a crowd-puller. This one is as refreshing as it is potent. A delightful punch of Iron Smoke whiskey, Rattlesnake Rosie’s, lemon, honey syrup and grated cinnamon promises a good time. ‘Iron Man-Hatten’ is suavely creative in using sweet vermouth, bitters, ice cubes, and the whiskey. Stirring works better than shaking with this one. Add a cherry and be merry.

‘Iron and Wine’, as the name suggests, can make vino lovers sit up and sip away. The whiskey, a simple sugar syrup and a dash of fresh lemon juice shaken well and poured on ice cubes. A drier red wine added carefully to the mix, and you have a regal drink that gets you going. How about a ‘Smoky Apple Toddy’? Add the whiskey to a generous amount of hot apple cider, add a dash of nutmeg, and finish up with a cinnamon stick and a lemon wedge. Doesn’t it feel like Christmas already?

Iron Smoke whiskey is also great when had with ice cubes, with lukewarm or cold water, with cola, or simply straight. Iron Smoke has something for everyone after all. And, in less, there is so much more.

Happy whiskeying!