But how does it taste? 

The Indy partakes in a blind test to see if local spirits stack up

Page 4 of 4


Glacier Dew Light Whiskey, Glacier Distilling, Coram

$24.25, 80 proof

Distillery description:“A whiskey distilled from rye, barley and corn. It is minimally aged so the natural flavors of the grains shine through. The result is a crystal clear whiskey perfect for sipping or mixing.”

Our score: 30

click to enlarge ALEX SAKARIASSEN
  • Alex Sakariassen

The judges’ first whiskey met mixed results. The aroma was described as “overpowering,” but the taste varied from “hot and woody” to “well balanced with a clean finish.” Many judges said they wanted to try the Glacier Dew with a sweet mixer that would cut through the nose and soften the taste.

Best comment: “Smooth, clean and sweet, but not with an overwhelming body. I’d like to date this one.”

Special Jury Prize Snifter

Hopshnop, Whistling Andy Distillery, Bigfork

$37.20, 68 proof

Distillery description: “A unique spirit distilled from grain with hops from Blackfoot River Brewing Company’s single malt IPA.”

Our score: 35

This format-buster immediately turned heads and many judges asked for a second tasting. Part of the appeal was simply trying to figure out how to classify it. “Tastes extremely familiar, but can’t quite place it,” said one judge who called Hopshnop a “sip-worthy spirit.” The floral aroma also wowed most judges, with one saying she’d almost rather “dab it on her wrists” than drink it. Overall, the mellow finish left our judges intrigued and wanting more.

Best comment: “Light some candles, put on some R. Kelly, I wanna make love.”

Montana Moonshine, Willie’s Distillery, Ennis

$26.20, 90 proof

Distillery description: “Made with four Montana grains and gently distilled to bring out the full flavor. It is what whiskey looks and tastes like before it goes into a barrel.”

Our score: 26

Our judges immediately pegged this one as moonshine based on its distinct corn flavor and aroma. “I’d only drink this if I were below the Mason-Dixon line,” said one. “Deliverance,” quipped another. But even those who weren’t huge fans appreciated some of its flavors: “Not for me, but lots of character in every sip.”

Best comment: “Down home meets downtown.”

Special Jury Prize Snifter

RoughStock Black Label, RoughStock Distillery, Bozeman

$64.10, 125 proof

Distillery description: “The single barrel version of Roughstock’s Montana Pure Malt Whiskey. The whiskey is untouched: uncut, unfiltered, and unadulterated in any way and at actual cask strength.”

Our score: 35

Whoa, Nellie. This cask-strength whiskey will put some hair on your chest. Our judges were excited to see an actual brown liquor arrive at the tasting, but those feelings were quickly tempered by Black Label’s overpowering taste. “This just kicks you upside the head!” said one judge. “You could light your breath on fire with this, right?” asked another. Despite its aggressiveness, fans of traditional whiskeys appreciated the Black Label’s long legs in the glass (“Cindy Crawford would be jealous”) and picked up the wood notes in the finish. Overall, it turned out to be an all-or-nothing selection for the judges, with enough alls to put it on the podium.

Best comment: “Wise beyond its years—and bodes well for how it might taste in a couple more years.”

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