This week, Jim and Mike hang out with Jesse Parker, Master Blender at Doc Swinson’s out of Washington State. It is always a good day when we get to try some new whiskeys while hanging out with a new friend. Jesse sent us several bottles and over the course of this episode, we will analyze and report our findings about these blended and finished whiskeys. Listen in or read on as we explore Doc Swinson’s Alter Ego Whiskeys.
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You all know how much Mike and I love to do in-person interviews and visit the distilleries we have on the show. This time, however, we chose to avoid the $775 in fuel costs to drive the 2300 miles and met online with Jesse for this interview. Maybe sometime in the near future we can make our way to the Seattle area and give them a visit. When we do, you will be sure to hear about it.
We started the show as always with a sip of bourbon and a little background on Doc Swinson’s and how they got started. We opened their Doc Swinson’s Alter Ego Triple Cash Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Sherry and Cognac Casks. That’s a lot of words! Well, get used to it because their craft of blending different Mashbills, finishing casks and blending techniques can get quite involved. But, you know that Mike and I love to see all that info making it to the label.
While sipping on the Triple Cask, Jesse filled us in on their journey from blending for restaurant and hotel brands to launching their own label. The team of four, Jesse, Steve, Chris and Keith have built something special. Focusing on the craft of blending and finishing and never allowing a whiskey to go into a bottle without first receiving a dose of Doc Swinson’s craft. They will not bottle anything they haven’t influenced through blending or finishing.
They have a small crew and they do nearly everything in-house including label designs and more. We just listened in, sipping on that beautiful whiskey and noting the complex flavors developed from two separate MGP high rye mashbills and triple cask finishing in Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez sherry casks as well as a Cognac cask. It is really something to enjoy and explore with many layers of flavor, and for about $60 it is a bargain in our opinion.
We rolled through the halftime break still sipping on the Triple Cask bourbon and in the second half opened up the Doc Swinson’s Alter Ego Solera Method Straight Rye Whiskey Finished in Rum Casks. Another mouthful of words!
Jesse fully explained their Solera process (still not sure I get it) while Mike and I enjoyed a pour of the rum finished rye. This whiskey has a lot going on. Again, we have two separate MGP rye mashbills (51% and 95%) as well as the rum cask finish and solera blending. By the way, they are blending the rum as well using their bourbon casks to finish it. It is hard to imagine keeping track of all the barrels and blends they have going on at one time.
We really enjoyed the blended rye and I would be happy to suggest it to anyone as a great gateway rye. Nice and sweet (not quite candy like), but aged well with the subtle influence of the rum cask finish. One of the things that stood out to me was the spiced pear note that seemed both unique and pleasant. For about $50 this is considered a buy for us as well.
We also sent some samples home with our good friend Bruce Russell and he really liked both the bourbon and rye and added just a little water to the rye. That is high praise coming from someone so solidly planted in the industry. Thanks Bruce for taking the time to check out Doc Swinson’s Alter Ego Whiskeys.
We had a genuinely great time with Jesse. He has a world of knowledge and experience when it comes to blending and finishing of whiskeys. There are some NDP’s (non-distilling producers) that simply purchase and bottle without adding much craft. That is not Doc Swinson’s. These guys are at the top of their game and producing some very interesting whiskeys. They are available in over 20 state and have shipping to many more. Make sure you check them out and let them know you heard about them on The Bourbon Road.
Be sure to listen in to our episode on Doc Swinson’s Alter Ego Whiskeys listed above and give us a follow on Facebook and Instagram.
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