At first we couldn't believe our mouths. We knew that Cut Spike single malt had just taken Double Gold honors at the 2014 San Francisco Spirits competition (the highest possible honor), so obviously other people thought it was good, too. But after tasting so many mediocre American attempts at single-malt whiskey, we had become accustomed to the idea that the Scottish style of distillation would never be recreated here at home. There would be spin-offs, and experimental grasps at greatness, but that supple, malty profile would simply be something we needed to import from abroad. Then the folks at Cut Spike sent us a sample of their two-year-old Nebraskan single-malt whisky made from 100% malted barley on a pot still crafted in Rothes, Scotland. Fermented at the brewery next door to Cut Spike in La Vista, the malt was matured for two years in new American oak with varying levels of char. The result is an incredible hybrid: soft, barley and vanilla-laden whiskey that tastes somewhat like your standard Scottish single malt, but has its own unique character at the same time. It's the kind of whiskey you taste once and enjoy, but then the next day suddenly crave intensely. It impresses you instantly, yet doesn't really reveal its full character until weeks later. The new oak blurs seamlessly into the malty mouthfeel, adding a richness on the finish normally not tasted in standard Scottish selections. Cut Spike is a major accomplishment for American distillation, pure and simple.
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By: Aaron Hughes
K&L Staff Member
More directly fruity on the nose than the Small Batch release, this Cask Strength then displays some more medicinal notes and a slight mustiness before giving way to wood and wood spice. The palate is rich and full with an excellent mouthfeel, not too thin and very mouth-coating. There's a burst of sweetness that gives way to more savoriness and spice with a mid-palate salinity. This is really starting to showcase the depths that an American Single Malt Whiskey can bring, providing a complexity and color that might lead you to think this is older than it is.
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