Brewvine: Grand Traverse Distillery
Grand Traverse Distillery makes a wide variety of specialty gin, vodka, rum and whiskey.
“A lot of what we hang our hat on is the fact that we’re a grain to bottle, meaning we’re buying local Michigan Grains. We mash them, we ferment them, we distill them, we age them, we do all that stuff here internally,” explained Grand Traverse Distillery Master Distiller Landis Rabish.
A lot of the variety in flavor comes from the methods and barrels they use to age those spirits.
A prime example can be found in a version of their “Ole George” rye whiskey.
“We’re one of the first guys to do this in the U.S. It’s called a solera rye whiskey. Solera is a term that means fractional aging. We have a three tier system, we do four plus years in American oak and then we take half that barrel and move it into a vanilla toasted oak,” said Rabish.
He continued, “It’s select wood treated a certain way, charred and toasted a certain way to elevate the vanilla and caramel flavor profile. Then that sits in there for a year. After a year, half of that gets removed and it gets stored into a 25 year old cognac barrel.”
While solera whiskey bounces from barrel to barrel to get it’s unique flavor, they have others that depend more on time to give them their flavor.
That includes the newly released, very clean, very mellow “Ole George” that they have been holding for 10 years.
“What makes us extremely unique is that we have a 10 year old rye whiskey bottled in bond. Bottled in bond is an old terminology, but what it really means is that once you’ve mashed, fermented, distilled it and turned it from grain into a spirit, it was put to a bonded warehouse to age and it did not leave that bonded warehouse until it was a finished bottled product ready to go,” said Rabish.
If you’re looking for something robust and full of flavor, Grand Traverse Distillery found a perfectly balanced barrel to bring you a single barrel, cask strength bourbon.
Rabish said, “This is truly undiluted, raw from the barrel. People who really love whiskey tend to like higher proof product. They are more aggressive than an 80 or 90 proof release. But for people who are all about the flavor, that’s where it’s at. It’s thick. It’s rich. The colors are inherently better. The flavors are inherently better, just because they are undiluted.