“It is very rich, and results in a big malt backbone, with lots of complexity, but is basically never used for whiskey production, as it is comparatively expensive,” Manglitz said.
The whiskey goes through double copper pot distillation and ages in American white oak. Manglitz sources, seasons and hand-selects wood for barrel staves. It’s distilled like a Scotch, but it has the heart of a bourbon. It’s fruit-forward, with black cherry, golden raisin and toasted marshmallow on the nose. There is a slight sweetness on the palate, with hints of candied apple and cardamom. The finish is warm and long.
“After 20 years of whiskey-making, getting that recognition for my art felt like the culmination of my life’s work,” Manglitz said. His response? “I got busy making some more.”
Manglitz originally made eight barrels of Maris Otter single malt, but, because of demand, distilled more a couple of months ago. Those barrels will be ready in a few years.
There are fewer than 150 bottles left from last year. The spirit now is going for $300 per 750-milliliter bottle (54.2% alcohol by volume), and it is available at all three of the ASW tasting rooms, for purchase or for a dram in-house.
If $300 is not in your budget, there is a fun way to experience ASW’s other award-winning whiskies, as well as the local small-batch chocolate Xocolatl. The distillery’s chocolate and whisky tasting, at its Armour Drive location, is $50 for a flight of four whiskies paired with four single origin chocolates. During the tasting, you learn a lot about your own palate, guided by ASW’s new tasting room director, David Galloway.
“When it comes to pairing, there are two ways — you can go like with like, to bring out similarities, or go with contrasts,” Galloway said. This tasting does both, and bean-to-bar Xocolatl puts the same amount of care into the chocolate that Manglitz puts into ASW’s whiskey. By the way, the world’s best craft whiskey pairs best with Xocolatl’s Kilombero Valley, Tanzania 73%.
ASW Distillery has three locations: 199 Armour Drive, Atlanta; 900 Battery Ave. at the Battery Atlanta; and in the West End at 1000 White St., Atlanta. aswdistillery.com.
Read more stories like this by liking Atlanta Restaurant Scene on Facebook, following @ATLDiningNews on Twitter and @ajcdining on Instagram.