For those who consider themselves whiskey aficionados, there are two “must do’s” that I have to recommend. First, one should find a way to get near a spirit safe and inhale deeply, And second, one should have good, unaged whiskey, the fresher from the still, the better. Not surprisingly, these are tasks not readily available to those not near a decent distillery. Which is a shame, for there are distilleries out there that are almost magical in the way they carry out their endeavors.
Which is why it is such a pleasure to see a product such as Woodinville Distillery Company’s Headlong White Dog Whiskey on the market, because it makes accomplishing the second task that much easier. Yes, I’m aware of that unaged whiskey called Georgia Moon, a corn whiskey made in Kentucky (by Heaven hill, I think), bottled in Mason jars, and distributed to liquor stores throughout the United States as little more than a novelty item. Georgia Moon is an insult to well made moonshine, a pretender whose presence is an insult to those who know what’s going on around those spirit safes.
The folks at Woodinville Distillery Company know what’s going on. This whiskey understands that, while the aging process can add (and smooth out) a fair amount of flavor, it’s just as important to ensure that what goes in the barrel is good enough to stand on its own.
Good, un-aged whiskey has a sweetness to it that sits beneath the roughness of the alcohol. Headlong White Dog has that in spades. A sip brings forth to my mind a subtle taste of corn syrup, with a hint of green grass. It’s easy to forget, when one drinks whiskey, that the deep, rich, caramels and spices come primarily from the barrel. These flavors are no where to be found here, and it took me a moment to remember that this is a whiskey, albeit one stripped bare.
If I have to quibble about something, it’s the price. The whiskey comes in at $35 a bottle. Typically, a distillery factors in the cost of storing an aging whiskey in the cost of a bottle. But Headlong White Dog is un-aged. There is no cost overhead for storage. This means that the higher price is either representative of the whiskey’s novelty, or its quality. As a a point of reference, the price is to a similarly sized bottle of 12 year old Glenfiddich. I’m not quite ready to argue that a White Dog, even a well made one, is of equal value as an aged Glenfiddich, let alone an older bottle of Buffalo Trace.
That being said, the drink is worth your time, if only to satisfy your curiosity. Drink it with the same respect your drink other types of whiskey, and you will be rewarded.