The world's first ryegrass whiskey is now available. This is not the rye grain that many of you are familiar with - this is ryegrass, the plant grown for turf and forage here in Oregon's Willamette Valley. Actually, we are the ryegrass capitol of the world and produce much of the planet's grass seed. During my previous biofuel research using ryegrass, we learned that there is quite a bit of usable sugar in the grass at certain growth stages. Where there is sugar, there can be fermentation! We made the beer and it was awful due the salts that the grass plant also takes up. We then distilled the beer and got a whole different animal. The resulting flavor profile that is hard to describe - maybe a rhum agricole or a lighter Highland single malt - earthy and, yes, sort of grassy. We then created a whiskey with a ryegrass component in an otherwise typical Bourbon recipe (#2) and put it into a new 30 gallon charred American Oak barrel.
After a year in new oak, the ryegrass whiskey has been moved to an old barrel to mellow. It is available only at the tasting room and selected events. The only size is 375 ml and the price is $39.95. Stop by and taste this unique offering.
2018 Tasting Notes: Color: Pale golden with a hint of amber. Aroma: Medium tenor oak notes with a suggestion of earthiness. Taste: Mellow with topnotes of vanillins and hay. Finish: Soft, but not overly long.
2019 Update: Finally got back out there and did some cutting for this year's batches. Many thanks to Mark McPherson for letting us whack a bit of his crop. Also thanks to my anonymous helper/scythe coach for only giggling at me a little. Details and video are in this blog post: The Glad Reaper.