WhipperSnapper

After a long silence, it’s a new year and a new post.  It’s been a hell of a temptation to have some fantastic whiskeys on my shelf waiting to be tasted and blogged about for about four months.  I’ve made it through the rigors of my first semester of grad school though, and can now happily reward my patience with a glass of WhipperSnapper.

I picked this bottle up back in August when I first moved up to Cambridge from Brooklyn, but I read about it  few months later when the Huffington Post got down to reviewing it before I was able to lift my head out of the books.  From that review and all the others I’ve come across over these long months, WhipperSnapper seems to have some savvy buzz-makers behind it in its creator — Ransom — which also recently released an Old Tom-style gin in collaboration with the esteemed cocktail revivalist, David Wondrich.

From what I’ve been able to gather, they source the corn spirit, which makes up 79% of the unaged mixture, from other distilleries and re-distill it, while making the 21% barley spirit themselves.  This is an interesting combination approach (compared to products like High West which outsource distillation entirely) that probably helps them decrease production time and keep volume up.  Additionally, it seems that one of the main selling points is that WhipperSnapper is aged partially in French oak barrels previously used for pinot noir-based wines.  I’ve only had one other whiskey aged in ex-wine casks (one of the Buffalo Trace experimental releases) and I quite enjoyed it, so I’m looking forward to seeing how this is expressed.  Now, on to the important stuff.

 

Stats:

- I found this for $31

- 84 proof

- Made by Ransom Spirits

Presentation:

In general, I’m not a fan of using too much text on a whiskey bottle.  The copywriters for such things tend to get worked up in nostalgic histories of grandfathers and secret family recipes and the like.  While this may add some weight to the drinker’s sense of what American whiskey should be, it usually comes across as disingenuous marketing drivel.  WhipperSnapper uses a lot of text on its faux-mid-19th-century label.  Aesthetically, this is pleasing, the small type of the lengthy mini-essay on the front label contrasts well with the bold type and curved outlines of the central text.  The content however just comes across as self-aware marketing drivel — best not to read too closely and just enjoy the otherwise well-designed label.  I say well-designed even though they push close to tourist-trap levels of Old Westiness by putting the phrase “High Falutin'” at the very top.  I understand wanting recall a golden age of American spirit production, and I don’t want to gripe too much about a genuinely attractive label, but some times these things go to far.

Tasting:

Two things come across instantly on the nose: first is a prominent corn scent from that 79% white dog, second is a burst of juicy sourness that I bet hails from those pinot noir barrels.  It reminds me of a beer that’s been aged in wine casks, definitely unexpected in a whiskey, but nonetheless intriguing.  Behind this, you can pick up some of that barley influence as well.  Combined, it’s something like a sour cherry crumble  Definitely a whipper-snapper though — this whiskey is young if the nose is any indication.

It  changes tack on tasting it though.  The sourness becomes a secondary characteristic to an appealingly sweet frosting/birthday-cake sort of sensation.  The back of the tongue picks up the corn and (less so than I’d expected) the barley, but the focus here is on the creamy sweetness more toward the front.  The sour wine-like qualities come in after this first wave dies down, but only slightly, and far from over powering.  The finish is warm but not particularly notable, probably owing to its relative youth.

Over all:

Nice work, Ransom.  I’m curious to see what this would be like with even more of the wine cask influence, but what we have here is quite good.  It is smooth beyond what its nose seems to imply and that buttercream opening is very appealing.  I’ll be drinking this again soon.

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8 responses to “WhipperSnapper

  • Back in the whiskey-blogging game « Nathan Lovejoy

    […] finally able to find some time to get up a new review at American Hooch.  Hopefully I can return to at least a once or twice per month schedule.  This […]

  • jibarican

    I’m new to Whiskey, very new. Got around to taste Whipper Snapper, and boy I was in for a surprise. Given that I also not very experienced in other spirits, this tastes so different than anything I’ve tasted. Totally surprised at how good it was. I suppose a purist would have a difficult time drinking this. Love the review

  • abelovesfun

    I tried this last night at a party and was frankly disgusted. I couldn’t believe such a sickening sweet product was being sold as a premier option. I can’t imagine anyone who likes their whiskey less sweet than Jack Daniels enjoying this. I love Oregon distilleries, but this is a miss.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with the previous reviewer, but will go further — this is the worst American whisk(e)y I’ve ever tasted by far. It’s the worst in the category of pretend-to-be-small-batch premium-priced pretenders.

    I bought a fifth of WhipperSnapper at 67 Wine & Spirits on Manhattan’s UWS tonight for $37.99…

    This is an exceptionally bad product. I can’t find a single redeeming quality — except that there are no free refills.

    — Nose: Corn and ashtray.
    — Taste: Corn, small-b(o)tched distillation process, backwash from your frenemy’s plastic tobacco-spit cup.
    — Finish: Has ruined my palette for the evening.

    I never reject a whiskey as entirely as this I do this drink. I may dilute it with 500 parts water and feed it to horses when the weather cools. If they don’t object…

    I appreciate the Hooch’s thoughtful review — different strokes — and agree with the part on “presentation.” The self-conscious label had tons of idiot-appeal and should have been warning enough for me.

    If you want a sweet-bad corn whiskey, this is a lock. Especially if you have an uncle (or a horse) who’ll drink anything. Otherwise, choose from the bottom of the shelf and sight unseen — you won’t be more disappointed.

    The worst American booze money can buy.

  • Lou

    I’d have to add that I found it pretty bad, and actually poured the bottle out. The Ransom old gin has the same odd flavor. Some people may like it because it’s “different”, but I felt it was way out of place with spirit. The flavor leaves a sickening taste in my mouth, I couldn’t even stand to have the bottle around to remind me of it. Thankfully there are a lot of great Bourbon’s out there…this had me longing for some Beam even. It took me some Rum and a beer to get rid of the taste. Really funny to see that others feel the same about it. I sent Ransom an email and asked them to please make it taste better…

  • Anonymous

    Bravo! The last few comments are Excellent examples in duche baggery. It is an ok whiskey but def not worth dumping out.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll actually have to add – that I love challenging myself to any and all whiskies – and saw this bottle up on the backbar and thought I’d give it a go.
    And the reason I’ve ended up here is because I was trying to track down some info on it as one of the worst whiskies I’ve ever had.
    And for those who chimed in with a not so positive review of it – I”ll second that – and don’t worry – your founded opinion has nothing to do with “douchebaggery”.

  • The Tale of Two Cocktails | Dize in the Kitchen

    […] that I wanted to make a whiskey cocktail that was deserving of the bottle of Whipper Snapper (http://americanhooch.com/2011/01/03/whippersnapper/) that I finally purchased after eying it for months – I repeat, I do not have a […]

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