Slaughter House American Whiskey is the second offering from David Phinney’s Splinter Group, coming hot on the heels of their landmark Straight Edge whiskey . Thus far it seems that the Splinter Group’s modus operandi lies in sourcing bourbon and then finishing Orin Swift Cellar’s [where he is head winemaker] used wine vessels. Their initial release, Straight Edge, was finished in Cabernet Sauvignon casks; Slaughter House moves on to Papillion French Oak barrels that previously held Napa Valley Bordeaux.
Slaughter House began its life as a nine year old whiskey and I couldn’t find any word as to where it was sourced, nor the mash bill. I’m going to assume it’s either from a local California distillery or MGP. I’m going to venture a guess that it’s a high rye mash simply because of the amount of spice I get from it [cause it sure ain’t coming from the Bordeaux.] There is also no word as to how long the whiskey finished in the Papillion barrels either but I would assume less than a year. After finishing in the French Oak it’s then cut down to 44% ABV [88 Proof] with spring water from sourced from a property 2000 feet above the Alexander Valley in California.
Here are my tasting notes:
Nose: Heavy on the sweetness, a lot of caramel and even maple sugars, caramelized fruits like tamarind & fig, with no harsh spirit scents making it through.
Taste: Initially very clean with vanilla, honey, and you can definitely discern the bordeaux… and then the whiskey hits, towards the end of the initial taste the spice of the whiskey, and why I guess rye, really hits you.
Finish: What starts off as clean and caramelized sweetness gives way to a delightful and mouth coating spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, toasted cereal, but as it subsides the initial red wine flavours rise up again. A very long slow burn on this one where the only sign of oak is at the end.
Slaughter House whiskey is a great example of a finished whiskey that finds itself at home as a straight sipper or in a number of spirit forward cocktails, I can see it pairing nicely in a Manhattan. It isn’t for the bourbon purist and there are some that will likely find it too sweet to drink much of, but it could hold its own finishing a meal where red wine would have been appropriate. You’ll be able to find Slaughter House American Whiskey for around $45 USD in most markets and it’s an excellent buy at that price, plus it will look wonderful on your shelf, I’m a sucker for well done packaging.
If you’ve had it, what did you think of it?