Where you’re drinking: The warm, wood-paneled confines of Rattlesnake Creek Distillers, your keister parked at one of the distillery’s high round tables. It’s dark beyond the big windows facing Alder Street. Sean Hogan is sitting across from you, his hand cupped around the rim of a glass as he sniffs his latest release. There’s a big grin on his face. It doesn’t take long to figure out why.
What you’re drinking: For exactly one year, Hogan’s second batch of Reserve Malt Whiskey has been aging in a row of barrels above the door to his still. He’s kept them up there for good reason: the temperature near the ceiling varies more, allowing the cask wood to loosen and tighten and, as it does, release more flavor from the char. The recipe is the same as last year’s batch—malted barley, winter wheat, a touch of rye—and one taste tells you all you need to know about Hogan’s wait. There’s that first harsh bite, the flood of warmth across your chest, a faint hint of vanilla. A second sip reveals a flavor akin to butterscotch. The third sip goes down even smoother.
Why you’re drinking it now: Because it’s Christmastime. Hogan planned it that way. “Come on,” he says, “we’re Irish. What Irish guy doesn’t want a bottle of whiskey under the tree?”
When to get it: RCD’s Reserve Malt Whiskey (96 proof) goes on sale Friday, Dec. 15, and you might want to act fast. Though he made more this time, Hogan says the 2016 batch sold out in just a few weeks. If you’re in a gift-giving mood, the distillery will order a wooden box with custom engraving for you to put the bottle in. If you’re just sipping for one, you can order a pour at the bar. Just don’t count on getting it with a mixer, or on the rocks. “I’ll start crying if someone puts an ice cube in it,” Hogan says.
Where to get it: 128 W. Alder St. The Reserve Malt Whiskey release party starts at 4 p.m. Dec. 15. A bottle will set you back $42.