Defiant American Single Malt Whisky is a relatively new product courtesy of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Distilling Co. It’s crafted from 100% two row barley and blended with water from the aquifer under the distillery.
This young whiskey is aged between two and six months. To speed up the aging process, Defiant inserts oak spirals into the barrels. This maximizes the spirit’s contact with wood and quickly imparts flavors and color. Such practices are often utilized when spirits producers want to bring their product to market without waiting years for a spirit to age naturally in barrels. Sometimes it’s used to good effect, other times, not so much. In this case, it seems Defiant is starting with a quality product off the still, which is key in achieving a favorable result.
In the glass, Defiant is a shimmering amber with grainy cereal aromas. Drink up for flavors of malt, vanilla, caramel and lots of honeyed fruit. It tastes a bit youthful and rough around the edges, but it’s a much smoother overall package than many young whiskeys. It finishes warm, grippy and dry for a pleasing drink from start to finish.
We’d be very interested to revisit this whiskey if Blue Ridge releases an older expression down the road. That should help to smooth out some of those rough spots. But for now, it’s a flavorful, interesting dram, and it’s a solid addition to the growing category of American single malts.
To find a bottle for yourself, you’ll have to look in North Carolina. It’s expanding to additional states this fall.
– 46% ABV
CE Rating: ★★★