"Happiness is having a rare steak, a bottle of whisky, and a dog to eat the rare steak.” - Johnny Carson

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Corsair. The most interesting whiskey you will ever taste and right in Nashville!

January 13, 2017

Corsair. Corsair is producing whiskey that you never knew could exist. I almost wouldn’t call them craft, because their quantity and size doesn’t deem that term, but they are definitely breaking the mold in regards to American whiskey. I had heard of this brand, but never seen it in stores. I decided to visit the new brew-stillery in downtown Nashville. By downtown I mean the new, gentrified area in the North West part of the city. Starting this distillery within the city limits was a huge feat for the creators of Corsair, Darek Bell and Andrew Webber. In 2008 when they started the company, the goal was to produce in Nashville. Unfortunately there were still legal issues of distilling in the city limits and this pushed them to open their first location in Bowling Green. In 2010 they found success in overturning the distillation laws and opened a second location in the city.  The facility I visited was actually just opened this year as the third location and was originally an old brewery. I chose the new facility due to the focus on whiskey.

 

The old warehouse of a building is quite small and they were in the middle of re-organizing and setting up the equipment. Nothing was running or actually even hooked up while I was there. Not only is this a new set-up for them, but I also visited about a week before Christmas and this is usually a popular maintenance time. They have one stainless steel grain cooker alongside seven stainless steel fermenters. Each fermenter holds about 800 gallons and they typically let the yeast work on the wet grains for 7-9 days depending on the type of whiskey they are making. There are two small column stills and one doubler. The doubler is actually an old, pre-prohibition piece that they found in Canada. They use all different types of barrels for aging. One of those being small, 15 gallon, American oak barrels and even as small as 5 gallon barrels for experiments. They claim that the difference of aging time between the 15 gallon and a 53 gallon barrel is quite significant. For a 2-4 year old whiskey out of a 53 gallon cask, you can then get the same characteristics within 4-8 months in a 15 gallon cask. They char to a level 3 and still hand bottle everything.

 

Corsair doesn’t stop at bottling, they also wanted control of the grains and have a 400 acre farm where they grow a good portion of their crop. They also do their own smoking of grains which includes all sorts of “peat” alternatives. To get a true feeling of how unique Corsair is you need to take a look at their full product line. They are experimental with not only aging, but type of grains, branding and everything else that could possibly set you apart from a typical American whiskey producer. Here is the product line I was presented with by my lovely guide Carter pictured below:

 

RYEMAGEDDON– they use chocolate rye (meaning heavily roasted rye, similar to The Signet chocolate malt at Glenmorangie).

 

Holly’s Tasting Note..

Nose: Berries, vanilla, char spice, creamy on the nose for sure. Smells like rye bread.

Palate: Older fruits, oak, brittle chocolate on the finish.

This wasn’t a bad rye. I would order it again.

 

OATRAGE- composed of 50% oats and 50% barley. 100 proof.

 

Holly’s Tasting Note..

Nose: Biscuit, honey, cookies, and maple syrup.

Palate: Raisins, dry grass, coffee beans and very dry finish.

 

QUINOA WHISKEY- originally an experiment to see if the healthy qualities of Quinoa would transfer through distillation and be a healthier option for drinking--meaning less of a hangover. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to prove this theory. It is made of 80% barley and 20% Quinoa.

 

Holly’s Tasting Note..

Nose: Literally smells like quinoa, vanilla and some cashews.

Palate: Creamy malt, grains and a rough grain. Literally tastes like quinoa.

Very interesting.. would love to get other people’s reviews and thoughts on this.

 

TRIPLE SMOKE- This is a popular one for them. Triple Smoke has won Artisan Whiskey of the year in 2015 and featured in Whisky Advocate. A lot of medals were hanging around the distillery for this one.

 

Holly’s Tasting Note..

Nose: Creamy peat, peach, vanilla and meaty almost like a BBQ’d meat.

Palate: Green tea, dried fruits and pear with some peat at the end.

They say banana, but I didn’t get that anywhere. I really liked this one!

 

 

HYDRA- this was just released as well and is a mixture of different levels of smoked barley.

 

Holly’s Tasting Note..

Nose: Soft and smoky peaches, pears and floral with tea and honey.

Palate: Peat right at the front and then lingers back, dry nut mix and some oak.

 

 

What’s great about this place is that although the tour of the distillery is quick due to size, you are given a dram right away. You get to start sipping on the spirit before you even end the tour. They also have two bars on site. One specific to their full spirit line and the other to their craft beer. Don’t forget, they are just as well known for their beer as they are for their unique spirits. I really enjoyed the Triple Smoke and this is probably because it reminds me of Scotch. I recommend checking them out and then right after, walk a block down the road to GreenBriar. You have shopping in this location and a lot of interesting people walking around. I hope distilleries keep popping up in the Nashville area and we can see what else Corsair has up their sleeve.  

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