Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey
Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey has quite the story to tell. Even they say it’s a “Tall Tale”. The history behind the brand started with a fire. Jess Graber a volunteer firefighter at the time noticed his neighbor’s barn ablaze down the road and rushed to help. His neighbor George Stranahan just so happened to be a whiskey aficionado. After discovering that both men had a unique passion for whiskey and the outdoors, they decided to work together. They set out to create a unique flavor of whiskey that was made from all the good stuff that Colorado had to offer. Much like their beer making brethren from Coors they have ‘tapped’ the Rocky Mountains to get some of the freshest water for their specific blend. The rest as they say is history.
Once you get past the story of how this whiskey came to be there is quite an interesting product in the bottle. It starts with 100% Rocky Mountain barley, Rocky Mountain water, and yeast. Put that concoction into some New America White Oak barrels and with a little bit of time you have Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey. Seems pretty simple doesn’t it? Well I’m sure there’s a lot more to it, but I like to take solace in simpler things.
My guess is that some of you may not have seen nor even heard about this whiskey. It’s incredibly difficult to find outside of the state of Colorado. Luckily I have some great friends and co-workers that are willing to share some bottles of whiskey for me to review and for you to lust after. After getting back from a business trip a co-worker of mine came in with this mysterious bottle and asked me if I had ever heard of it. I told him, yeah I’ve heard of it, but I’ve never seen it. So he let me take the bottle home and review it. Just a few weeks after that my good friend and co-founder of this site sent me a bottle for my 30th birthday. Apparently he had to pry it away from the owner of a liquor store down in Austin, TX. The owner of the store that is quite possibly the last bottle of it in Texas. So I’m glad we bootlegged it up to Tennessee so that I can enjoy drinking it. I’m sure I’ve enticed you all enough now and you’re all ready to out about this mysterious Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey.
The ‘tall tale’ of this whiskey translates directly to the bottle. It’s a tall, slender and tapering bottle that is topped with a silver tapered shot glass. On the shot glass there are two indented lines that circle it. I didn’t do exact measurements, but my guess is that it’s a 1 & 2 oz measurement. You know just incase you’re out in the wilderness and need an accurate pour. Either way it’s pretty awesome and a nice leave behind once the bottle has been finished off.
Looking at this Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey I’m immediately drawn to the red amber color of the whiskey inside the bottle. It’s rich and full of lift I’m always amazed at how the bottle can really bring the liquid inside to life.
One of favorite thing about this bottle is that each and every one there is a little note from whoever filled the bottle. What’s even better than that is the fact that bottling crew are volunteers. About once every 3 weeks a crew comes in to help bottle this stuff. You’re asked to work 5 hour shifts one in the AM and one in the PM. That’s a pretty awesome way to bring a community together and really feel like this is Colorado’s whiskey. I know that I’m ever in Denver I’m going to stop by and see if I can help bottle some of this stuff. I think you’ve probably heard enough about this and you really want to know how it tastes at this point.
Right off the bat when I pour my glass I get a nice strong dose of spice on the nose. There is a hint of sweetness once I really get in there. I’m picking up a slight fruit scent similar to apple. But the dominant note is spice and a good splash of oak as well. It must be that #4 char that they use on their barrels.
A few swirls around the glass opens up this Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey. I’m hit with that spice that is carrying over from the nose. It’s a fairly peppery spice as well. There are hints of toffee and I’m picking up a few notes of coffee, but that spice is the most dominant. Towards the finish that sweetness creeps up a bit as well. Some note thats are similar to bourbon, but reworked in a unique way.
The finish brings a long a nice warm wood finish. Definitely great for those cold nights in Colorado when you’re stuck in the ski lodge watching the latest snow shower down upon the Rockies. To me the finish is akin to a solid full bodied red wine. It’s slightly dry and very resinous. Quite a nice little package that they put together. They’ve even wrapped it all up in a nice silver cup.
Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey: 9/10
For me this is a great artisanal whiskey. It brought something different to the table. They’re really pushing what can be down with the stripped down ingredients. They get back to the heart of distilling. Using local products and doing it in small batches. Stranahan’s is doing it right. Now I just wished they could a little bit more of it so that everyone else can get a taste. However, I’m glad they’re not compromsing quality for quantity. I guess I’ll just have to stay in good contacts with those from Colorado to make sure I have an ample supply. So if you’re ever in Denver make sure to stop in Stranahan’s and get a tour. It’d be even better if you could make an appearance to do some bottling. If you’re lucky enough to find a bottle of this on your local spirit store’s shelves grab it quickly, before someone else does.