Corsair Triple Smoke

Triple Smoke - WWDFeatured at World Whisky Day 2016: One of the many American distilleries sprouting in the decade, Corsair Distillery is located in the somewhat unlikely city of Nashville, TN*. Founded by friends Andrew Webber and Darek Bell in 2008, Corsair has not wasted any time, purposefully eschewing what’s been done before. Not waiting seems to be a core value, as many of their spirits are aged less than a year and pushing the boundaries is an expectation. Not content to use one grain, they produce everything from absinthe to genever to pumpkin spice moonshine in several core offerings and many seasonal or experimental spirits. Thankfully they have good taste to back up their creativity. Many of their spirits have won awards, most of all this Triple Smoke whiskey that is pot distilled from three elements of malted barley, each smoked by cherry wood, beach wood and peat. These guys have panache.

Distillery: Corsair
Region: Foreign
Age: NAS
Strength: 40%
Price: $44.99
Location: Nashville, TN (United States)
Nose: Sweet, cherry, smoke
Palate: Smoke, oak, bitter
Finish: Peat, smoke

Comments: Water is not needed. *Because of city laws at the time, the first Corsair distillery was opened in nearby Bowling Green, KY. When a legislative change was made in 2010, they opened the one in Nashville. Both these locations produce the whiskey.

Adam – I like the slightly oily feeling this has on the tongue. The whiskey itself is not terribly complex, but you wouldn’t notice it because the three smokes provide layers that are really neat to experience. I wonder if the three smokes plus the influence of the barrel help make up for the fact that the whiskey itself just hasn’t spent a long while aging. What I like is their commitment to experimentation and to think way, way outside the box. Is this a scotch? No, hell no. But it’s not supposed to be. What it is a distinct, unique whiskey with a surprising amount of flavors derived from barrel and smoked barley. I dare you to explore it.

Jenny – Like a bonfire under a cherry tree. A summery smoke with a bit of a summer fruit. So it’s not a peaty, wintry smoke. It has a strong flavor but still nice for summertime. It’s complex even though it only has a couple of notes. The smoke is complex. You can tell it’s a “triple” smoke but it still feels like there’s a lot going on in it. 

John – It’s a very rounded and balanced experience. It’s complete in itself. I like that. It’s a good Fall drink. I could see this whisky being very sensitive to context since it’s so dependent on the olfactory experience.

Margaret – For me the dominant thing was a bitter, acrid taste.

Meghan –  This is a fun whiskey. I imagine it was also a fun experiment for the distillers. There is definite smoke though frankly, it could be smokier. What was probably the most interesting aspect was that I could detect a different type of smoke on the nose, palate, and finish. Whether I could connect those smokes to the actual wood types used… well, not with any real confidence but then I am not really a smoke expert. To me, this whiskey has a light brown flavor – like the now discontinued color in plain M&Ms. However, for a whiskey called Triple Smoke, you really want it to taste darker, like a deep walnut wood finish. It is almost there but just a bit too light in flavor. It is a lower alcohol percentage than normal as most we see are around 46%. It is quite possible that diluting to 40% was just a bit too far. It’s an enjoyable dram and a pretty unique addition to the bar. Will it blow you completely away? Probably not, but for the price and the unique triple woods, it is worth its price point.

Michael – It’s a very full and balanced flavor in general. The smoke isn’t coming through for me. The name sets the expectation that you’ll have this prominent smoke flavor whereas the smoke is far more integrated into the overall flavor profile, producing a well balanced whisky. But you shouldn’t use the name to drive the expectation of this whisky. I really enjoy it but it doesn’t match what I always think I should be tasting.