WHISKEY - Release II
The in-depth notes that whiskey aficionados will appreciate for this must-have whiskey.
“HOLY WOW! You have really outdone yourself, this release is absolutely amazing. This seriously might be one of the best made American Whiskies I have ever laid my lips on, and just ask my liver, I have had quite a few.” - Buyer/Morrell Wines & Spirits, NYC
"...one of the best things I ever tasted in my life (now, and every time I taste it): Release II of Charbay Whiskey". - Virginia Miller/Bay Guardian
A lifetime collector series - In 1999, Miles and Marko distilled 20,000 gallons of great Pilsner to create just 24 barrels of Whiskey. These barrels will be watched (and certainly tasted) over many years they are an art endeavor, not an on-going production. Release I of the series was just 3 years old when it was bottled at cask-strength (124.9 proof) and it was unheard of to taste a whiskey as smooth as a fine 15-year-old (80 proof) ones.
A Break-through in Whiskey History - Little-known fact: Whiskey IS distilled beer! In this case, 12th and 13th Generation Distillers started with a great bottle-ready Pilsner from a Northern CA micro-brewery instead of low wash, one of many terms for the watery, fermented grain base (technically) normally considered just the raw material for distilling.
Ultra-premium Ingredients - European Two-Row Barley, grown and malted in British Columbia, which has much more concentrated flavors than the more mainstream 6-row barley, was first made by professional brewers into bottle-ready beer. Choice hops were added just before distillation to add the floral and spice notes Marko envisioned in his mind. No peat was used during malting our brewers, as well as Marko and Miles, the distillers, prefer to focus on the pure grain and hops flavors.
Classical 7-Fraction Pot Still Distillation: The Art Where the 'Men Get Separated from the Boys'. 99% of whiskey today is made in column stills at the expense of quality and, ultimately, taste. Why? It's consistent, yields the highest volume of whiskey, and, best of all, can be run on auto-pilot to create the millions of gallons that are consumed each year.
Miles and Marko use a classical Alambic Charentais Pot Still no automation. Period. They separate the batch into 7 sections to find the ultimate heart of the distillation - an art passed down, not taught in any university. From 20,000 gallons of Pilsner, just 1,000 gallons of Whiskey results.
It took 3.5 WEEKS (24/7) to distill. As you see, this is not commercially viable fine art.
Our Barrel-Aging Philosophy - Miles and Marko used custom-made new American oak barrels (Missouri and Pennsylvania), charred to #3 Gator Skin. They purposely age the barrels of Whiskey at variable temperatures to create added flavor complexities. Six years later, five barrels were selected for their profiles and transferred to stainless steel to age (yes) for another 3 years. (Want to talk molecular? Call Miles.)
Cut with water that makes Fiji jealous Ultra-soft only 3 ppm (parts per million) dissolved solids remain in the water when Miles and Marko slide it into the whiskey. (Fiji water has 210 pppm)
Angel's Share - the amount of whiskey that evaporates while barrel-aging is between 3-4% per year. That amounts to TWO GALLONS lost per year out of each 55-gallon barrel.
Hand-produced entirely in-house by a legendary artisan family from the label design, to the distillation, bottling, labeling, wax dipping, and coining.
Truly an exceptional story in a bottle.
Did you know that whiskey is distilled from beer?
Normally referred to as "low wash" or "distiller's beer", it's not something you'd reach for on a hot, sunny day.
In 1999, our distillers, Miles & Marko, said, "What if?"
They decided to distill 20,000 gallons of bottle-ready Pilsner beer to create CHARBAY Whiskey.
It took them 3.5 weeks of 24/7 distilling, taking shifts to check on the Pot Still every 3-4 hours. (One of the main reasons nearly all whiskey is column distilled.)
In 2002, we released the first 2 barrels. Just 3 years old, it was dangerously smooth at cask strength (129.4 proof).
Six years later, we're pleased to announce that Release II is ready!! Miles & Marko selected 5 barrels - 124 cases.
"There is no other whiskey out that you can really taste the beer that it's made from", says Marko.
"The spice from the hops and the barley flavors are very well balanced with just the right amount of oak."
Why the Charbay Whiskey Project... this is a rare chance to watch an exclusive Whiskey Batch as it evolves. Distilled in 1999, Miles & Marko invite you to follow the life of a very full bodied Hop Flavored Whiskey distilled in a classic Charentais Alambic Pot Still through its different stages as they release the barrels as they see them showing personality traits that tie in and salute aging.
Premiere Release : Two barrels bottled at full barrel strength so you could taste it as if you were there with Miles & Marko pulling a sample from the French oak barrel.
Release II : With more age, five barrels were bottled at 110 Proof.
Release III : Barrel #8 - only a half barrel at full barrel strength, uncut & unfiltered. 138 Proof. At $450 a bottle, because there are only 360 bottles, not as many will get a chance to taste it but now, 13 years old, we are letting the collectors know it will be released in November..
Enjoy the Whole Collection - stay on our mailing list to hear about release dates.
Waiting for Release III
- Serving Suggestions: Enjoy room temperature neat, with a splash of spring water or a spring water ice cube.
- Find in a Store Near You: View U.S. Map
- Collectors Alert: These stores have notified us that they have a few bottles of Charbay Whiskey, Double Barrel Release I. The Collection goes on... stand by for Release III of this unique Single Batch of whiskey released in various Proof & Age levels.
- Astor Wines & Spirits (NYC)
- Amanti Vino (Montclair, NJ)
- PlumpJack (SF)
- The Liquor & Wine Grotto (Santa Barbara)
- Alcohol: 110 Proof / 55% Alc. by Vol.
- Bottle Size: 750 mL
- Additional Information: Want to learn more about Whiskey?
My favorite source is Jon Hansell's Malt Advocate, check out this article: Whiskey 101
California State law does not permit us to ship directly to CA residents. Please call 707-963-9327 or contact us so we can find the store closest to you.