Bourbon Review: Wyoming Whiskey

Wyoming Whiskey Reviewed

Have I become bourbon jaded? Wyoming Whiskey was introduced to me through email by a PR company representing the distillery. My initial thought was “sure, send a sample” it will either be young craft whiskey in a beautiful bottle or an overpriced NDP. I’ve read about Wyoming Whiskey somewhere along the way but since it isn’t distributed in Florida, I’ve never paid that much attention.

When the bottle arrived I noticed “Distilled, Barreled and Bottled in Kirby, Wyoming” and my mind immediately prepared itself for an over-oaked, green tasting mess. I even let the bottle sit on my shelf for a couple weeks before getting around to opening it. I’m glad I finally did. I was even more excited when I heard it was $40.

WyomingWhiskeyBottle

Wyoming Small Batch Bourbon Review:

The nose is brown sugar and cinnamon. There’s stewed apples and brûlée bananas. The first sip is a lot of the same notes as the nose. I get a creamy sweetness and more of that bananas foster. There’s not much of an oak presence, but the sweetness does get balanced out with some spice.

As much as I hate the word “smooth” in reviews this bourbon is smooth. Maybe, drinkability? That just brings in negative connotations of Bud Lite.

Backstory of Wyoming Whiskey

After trying and being impressed by Wyoming Whiskey (WW) it was time to start digging. Turns out, WW’s Master Distiller is Steve Nally. Steve left a 33-year career distilling for Maker’s Mark to build WW from the ground up. While I would still consider WW “craft” it’s not some mom and pop shop with a 100-gallon pot still. WW Distillery is a proper facility pumping out an excellent product. The great story of Wyoming’s first legal distillery is only the caboose.

Wyoming Whiskey Specs:

  • Mash bill: 68% corn, 20% wheat, 12% malted barley (all grown locally, w/in 100 miles of the distillery).
  • All fermentation and distillation occur on-site through the use of four 2,500 gallon fermentation tanks and a continuous distillation system comprised of a 38′ tall and 18″ wide column still and a 42″ by 40″ pot still.
  • Wyoming Whiskey is barreled at 115 proof in new, charred, white oak barrels. These 53-gallon barrels are stored in one of three warehouses in Kirby. Temperature is not regulated which means WW experiences sustained 130-degree temperatures in the summer and below zero temperatures in the winter. Meaningful daily temperature swings are also common. This fluctuation in temperature means that the whiskey is more dynamic on a daily basis and penetrates and recedes from the charred oak more frequently than other maturation environments.
  • Current batches are 5.5 years old.

Wyoming Whiskey gives me hope for the future of bourbon. There are still distilleries out there doing it the right way. And, given enough time, they’re creating some great products (I can’t wait to try Smooth Amblers 6 year). What’s even better is the price tag.

43 comments

    Thank you for your informative and focused reviews. I have just started developing Bourbon sales in my UK pub – selling them alongside my ‘top shelf’ Single Malts. I have also organised my first Bourbon and Malt tasting at my venue for November 20th and it’s sold out. Very encouraging !

    I had the opportunity to try this at the Austin World Of Whiskey fest…I will second everything Blake is saying! Totally surprised me with the level of complexity and yes, “smoothness”. Great stuff and I recommend to everyone that listens!

    Glowing review. You hit on many aspects of a whiskey that I love (brown sugar, cinnamon, that bananas Foster flavor). Along with complexity I love a touch more sweetness in my whiskey and WW seems like it delivers. Being “smooth” never hurts either. Knowing the back story really gets me excited also (the Maker’s connection). I’ll definitely be looking for this one. Thanks!

    I bought a bottle in Yellowstone. Great bottle and a great display. Did my research and when I discovered the distiller it was a no brainer for me. Big mistake. I’m a word, awful. Thin on the tongue and to be kind tastes “green”. I mean green…like lawn
    clippings. I’ve added water, tried cocktails. Just too hard to get it down and enjoy it. Maybe it’s me? Sure, I’d buy that. However, everyone I let taste it made the WTF face and hands it back to me. It’s whiskey alright, maybe that real taste of what one might think real “frontier whiskey” tasted like way back when. No thanks. I paid almost 50 bucks. Insult to injury. Do yourself a favor and taste first. I doubt you’d buy afterward.

    Are you sure it’s the same bottle? I have a hard time believing it is unless it was a very early batch. Trust me I know young/green whiskey and this wasn’t it

    I was in the bar business for several years back in the 1960’s and have probably tried and sold nearly every domestic bourbon distilled in the U.S.A. I tried a shot of Wyoming Whisky from the first batch bottled and in my opinion the well whisky I served back in the day tasted much better than the Wyoming Whisky. Perhaps they have gotten better in the following years and may try them again but the first taste was for me nasty.

    Yes that’s the case with 99% of craft whiskies. Most aren’t better than the $10 bottom shelf bourbons. I’d suggest trying batch 28. I think you’ll be surprised

    See my comment below. Brian – I, too, was at Yellowstone this summer and had that experience. My first taste was in Jackson, where I thought I would buy a bottle, but then upon the second tasting (green is the word to describe it) and third tasting (in Cody) – i deferred.

    T

    Did the PR rep hint if they envision this becoming available nationally in stores — or just in stores out west and available online on the east coast?

    -M

    nice. I’ll have to hit TPS tomorrow. I haven’t seen it there. Glad to see they made it out here and hopefully its a good batch!

    T

    Interesting. I was out west this summer and got to taste this multiple times. I suspect that the taste may vary based on the batch. One batch I had (of course I can’t remember the number) was great – very similar to your review. I then tasted another batch number and I got some green wood flavors and was a little turned off. I tried to find my original batch number in stores out there and couldn’t find it. I think that as they grow, the batches will get more consistent – but you’re right, this does give me hope that other newer distilleries can make a good (great) product. Hopefully, as they grow, they will be able to expand their distribution out east.
    Of note – 44% alcohol (88 proof) is a reference to Wyoming being the 44th state.

    Trent

    Wade! Thought you had unsubscribed. Good to have you back. I’ve asked those questions and will let you know the response. What do you think the reasoning is on straight? Not actually 5.5 years old?

    No he left and it is my understanding that the son of one of the founders has taken his place. I really should stop in Kirby in one of my many trips up there and get the scoop.

    I bought mine in Kirby at the distillery last summer…batch 18. Still a bit young then , but have tasted later batches and have seen constant improvement.

    Keith

    Wyoming whiskey has its one dedicated website…took all of 3 seconds to search…perhpas SOMEONE should have done his due diligence before posting his review

    Blake, thanks for such a thorough and solid review of our bourbon. We have been laying down barrels since July of 2009 and released in Wyoming in December of 2012. The bourbon that we released until early 2014 was indeed young. Three years young, in fact. Our bad. Once we had a fully matured bourbon available (over 4 years) we sent a team around the state to taste retailers and replace our early bottles with the good stuff. We may have missed a few outlets. But, presently, all of our bourbon is over 5 years old and has received high marks from all who give it a shot. Any batch over 20 is good. Any batch over 24 is better. And, anything 28 and above is great. Expect nothing but a mature, balanced and complex bourbon from us from this point forward. Our decision to not use the term “straight” is nothing more than a marketing decision. And, finally, Steve Nally returned to Kentucky to be with his family and pursue other opportunities last year. Sam Mead is our distiller and he continues to build on Steve’s foundations every day.

    thank you so much for this information. I live in Maryland and visited a store today that I don’t normally buy from but has a great reputation. the owner recommended your whiskey to me and I had never seen it or heard of it, but bought the bottle because he said it was quite good. when i got home i did my normal research and was not finding things that i wanted to hear. but i kept reading reviews all around the web and found yours which made me realize it depends on the batch (mine is #31). now that you’ve explained it, i feel better about my purchase, and i did call the owner back to make sure he had tasted batch #31. he said it was , and the first he had ever had since it just became available to him. i buy these for my husband’s taste, not mine…i just to the research and the hunting. had i not seen your comments, i probably would have returned it unopened. so glad you contributed and more importantly find that your hard efforts are finally being rewarded in a great product…look forward to trying it tonight.

    I forgot to mention that we are available in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, D.C., Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. Georgia, Washington, and Alaska are next.

    Sorry Blake, you are so wrong. Living in Idaho, I have had the opportunity to try all of the Wyoming Whiskey releases. From the first to the present, pure gut rot garbage. I wanted so bad for Wyoming Whiskey to be good… It’s easily accessible and local. Who wouldn’t want to support something so close to home? I give up, each batch is as bad as its predecessor. I now find a small amount of joy in warning people from purchasing a bottle of this liquid sh*t…. Save your money. $40.00 puts you in reach of some great bourbon, just not Wyoming Whiskey.

    I think you need to read some of the comments. The owner of the distillery talks about how bad the easy batches were.

    It’s most likely that I’m tasting a much different bourbon (mine is batch 28) than you have. I’m not wrong but I would highly suggest only buying bottles from batch 28 or higher

    Does the bottle have the batch number on it? I don’t have one in front of me to check, so I’m asking. I tried WW two years ago and thought it was underwhelming, but not as terrible as some of these trolls above me have stated. I’d like to give a more recently released batch another shot. Also, I just spotted the single barrel release. Which batch number is this from? Sorry if all this info is available on the bottle but like I said, I don’t have one in front of me at the moment to check. Thanks!

    I have been tasting this bourbon for several years now when I visit a buddy in Wyoming. It has steadily improved year to year. But the first several years were rough. We shall see what this next year brings.

    I just returned from a trip to Wyoming and had a chance to stop at the distillery in Kirby. I was able to sample Wyoming Whiskey there and found it to be very good. I am not a whiskey expert by any means but bought a bottle of batch 34 and it is just as good as what was sampled. Now I just need to find a retailer in Indiana.

    Just bought a bottle, batch 31. I found it very much to my liking, and true to authors review. Don’t consider myself an educated pallet, but I enjoy Bookers, and favorite is Blantons, if that helps calibrate to readers tastes.

    Hi all. I just got home from a great trip out to Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. I tried every local bourbon I could find (…even the “local” ones sourced from my home state of IN ( from MGP).

    I talked to a few bourbon knowledgeable people in the Jackson Hole and Teton area about Wyoming whiskey. The first 28 batches are significantly more “green” that the recent batches. The more recent ones, batch 30 and above were recommended by different 3 people and they all suggested staying away from the early batches. Essentially the business had invested to much money to simply throw away the early product, they went ahead and released it in order to bring in some revenue and reinvest in the future product.

    I had some of batch 38 and it was awesome. I regret not buying more and am trying to find a way to find more of these later batches. Give this one a try, its a quality juice.

    Good to hear! One of my local stores has a Wyoming Single Barrel cask strength store pick that I’m strongly considering picking up a bottle of for ~$60.

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