Happiest Hour: Montgomery Distillery's American Single Malt Whiskey 

The party: Rejoice, Missoula, for the day has finally come. Four years after its grand opening—and three years after tucking away casks of the good stuff for aging—Montgomery Distillery is rolling out its long-awaited single malt this week. To mark the occasion, Montgomery is hosting a release party complete with bagpipers on Nov. 18. Show up early, because according to co-owner Jenny Montgomery, the distillery filled just 1,380 bottles, and the next batch won’t be out for another year. Bottles are $48.

  • Photo by Alex Sakariassen

The backstory:
When Jenny and Ryan Montgomery first hatched their plan for a Missoula distillery in 2009, they were targeting single malt from the start. While their vodka and gin have since amassed a loyal following, the clear spirits were in part a means to float the business while their whiskey matured. Distiller Christopher Conley says whiskey is at the forefront of Montgomery’s plans for the future. As Jenny puts it, Friday’s release marks “the beginning” for the distillery.

The taste: If you’re put off by the smokey, peaty taste commonly associated with Scotch, worry not. Montgomery’s single malt is a smooth, almost fruity ride and smells a bit like fresh-cut apples. There’s even a faint note of mint on the back end. And for the love of Robert Burns, leave the shot glass on the shelf. Jenny recommends sipping this whiskey neat, preferably from a glass with a fluted rim to concentrate the scent.

The mixer option: Much of Montgomery’s single malt will leave the distillery in bottles, but Jenny says they will have a cocktail option—a classic 1920s-era Blood and Sand, mixing the whiskey with orange juice and a house-made Flathead cherry liqueur—available starting Friday.

The deets: Montgomery’s single malt release party starts at 5:30 p.m. Friday at 129 W. Front St. The first bottle of the batch will be auctioned off at 6:30, with the proceeds going to Empower Montana.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email editor@missoulanews.com.
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