One of the cornerstones of craft distilling is creative ingenuity and the willingness to accept risks. It takes nerves of steel to go out on a limb and produce something that has no peer. That's precisely what 4th generation farmer David John Souza and his family have done in creating a range of distilled spirits predicated on the sweet potato. How could someone not have thought of distilling sweet potatoes before this?
The likely answer is that sweet potatoes are extremely difficult to distill. A quick sniff, sip and swallow of Corbin Cash Green House Blended Whiskey will reveal Souza was up to the challenge.
The farm-to-bottle process begins at Sweet Potato Spirits, a distillery located in California's San Joaquin Valley. There are 8 varieties of estate-grown sweet potatoes are mashed and fermented, and then distilled in a traditional copper pot still. The white whiskey is then transferred to charred, American white oak barrels for up to 4 years. Legally a whiskey must contain at least 20% grain, so the blend also includes Merced Rye Whiskey.
"Our Green House Blend is the first of its kind. It starts with sweet potato alcohol that we barrel at 120-proof. When they've reached maturity, we blend the barrels and taste test each gallon of distillate to ensure consistency," says distiller Souza. "People are extremely curious about what the whiskey tastes like, but honestly it's simple. This is our version of bourbon. The sweet potato mimics a lot of the characteristics of corn, but we feel it's a little sweeter, smoother and a lot softer whiskey than our rye whiskey."
The Green House Blend is indeed reminiscent of a small batch bourbon. It has a lushly textured body and an alluring bouquet of sweet potatoes, caramel and light, floral aromas. The 90-proof whiskey delivers absolutely no esophageal burn as it fills the mouth with bourbon-like flavors. The fade is long and spectacular.
The range also includes Corbin Cash Merced Rye Whiskey, a spicy, exuberant whiskey made entirely from estate-grown Merced rye and aged for up to 4 years in custom, charred American white oak barrels. The whiskey is bottled at 90 proof.
Rye enthusiasts will swoon over the small batch whiskey's vivacious personality. It's bold and spicy at first, followed closely by the oak-induced flavors of vanilla, caramel, cocoa and soft notes of cinnamon and toasted oak. The finish on this whiskey leaves you wanting another sip.
Sweet Potato Spirits also makes Corbin Sweet Potato Vodka, which won a double gold medal at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The Olympic-class vodka is distilled entirely out of sweet potatoes and slowly filtered through charcoal for absolute purity. It has a velvety texture, a captivating set of aromatics and a delectable, semisweet palate.
Those looking for something extraordinary to serve after a fine dinner will delight in sipping Corbin Cash Barrel Reserve Sweet Potato Liqueur. It, too, is made from 100% California sweet potatoes and is aged 4 years in American white oak. The liqueur has a smooth, lush texture and a captivating and flavorful finish.
So go out and support ingenuity by voting with your dollars. Risk-takers like David John Souza and his family have created something genuinely exceptional and worthy of acclaim.