Drink Local: ASW Fiddler Bourbon

Tasting Atlanta’s fiddled-with whiskey

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Have you found it hard to stay on top of all the new spirits being distilled here in Atlanta and its surrounding counties? Welcome to Drink Local, a semi-regular series in which we’ll feature and taste a range of local products, starting with the four local distilleries highlighted in our Made in Georgia Spring Dining Guide

Our aim is to enable you to walk in to your local liquor store (or favorite bar) armed with a basic knowledge of the local goods on the shelves. Our first feature was Old Fourth Distillery Vodka, the very first (legal) spirit distilled in the city of Atlanta since the days before Prohibition. Today, we’ll introduce you to the new whiskey from ASW Distillery — Fiddler Bourbon.

No value assignedThe facts: The new Fiddler bourbon whiskey comes from a line of “foraged” spirits to complement ASW’s house-distilled products — meaning ASW bought the stuff from another distillery but have fiddled with it in some way, mainly through aging in different types of casks and blending. This particular release came out Nov. 1 and amounts to a mere 450 bottles, or roughly two barrels. It is a high-wheat bourbon, meaning that wheat makes up a good percentage of the mash bill — 45 percent for this particular whiskey. Other notable wheated bourbons on the market are Maker’s Mark and Pappy Van Winkle, both of which have a much smaller wheat component than ASW’s. This Fiddler release is relatively young — “aged at least 18 months,” according to ASW, in full size new American oak barrels followed by quarter casks. Suggested retail price is around $35.

How it tastes: At 86 proof, Fiddler makes for a smooth and balanced sipper, remarkably so for such a young bourbon. You can use it in cocktails, but doing so would knock out the pleasant wheat presence here. The grain notes are prominent and lightly toasty — no heavy oak or dark brown sugar in sight. A young corn whiskey might have you thinking tortilla chips, but this Fiddler wheat is all graham crackers. A hint of orange peel with clove and nutmeg keeps it interesting.

Where to find it: The best place to find Fiddler is at ASW Distillery, where you can tour and take home a bottle. Local bottle shops like Tower, Green’s, and Decatur Package have it in limited supply. Expect the next limited release before the holidays, though the exact finishing age and casks may vary from release to release.

ASW Distillery. 199 Armour Drive N.E. 404-590-2279. www.aswdistillery.com.