The unaged whiskey category is alive and well, with product offerings available from heavy hitters like Buffalo Trace and artisan producers like Death’s Door.
Death’s Door White Whisky ($30) is distilled in Wisconsin and made from a blend of local wheat and malted barley. As the name implies, the spirit lacks the gold, amber or brown colors typically associated with whiskey because it’s not aged in barrels. Barrel aging gives whiskey its color and much of its flavor, often softening the spirit and rounding it out with oaky touches, like vanilla and caramel. Death’s Door, however, is rested in stainless steel vats for a few weeks to allow oxidation before bottling (technically, it does see the inside of a barrel, but just for three days to meet the legal requirements for calling a spirit “whiskey”).
The result is a whiskey that’s rich and malty and slightly vegetal – more like a pisco or tequila on the nose. Flavors range from raisins and dark fruits to malted grain notes. Whiskey drinkers will notice the creamy, whiskey-like body, but otherwise, Death’s Door White Whisky is a different thing entirely. Score some for yourself, or surprise your whiskey-hating friend (we all have a few, unfortunately) with a bottle of the crystal clear spirit.