Throughout our entire history as Standard & Strange, we’ve had our friend and whiskey maker Rob Easter pouring drinks at almost every event.
We had been looking for a way to grow our collaboration with Rob beyond events and had thrown around a few ideas about our favorite whiskeys. The moment that spurred us into action came when a Mizunara cask had come up on offer to Rob - highly regulated Japanese oak that is fiendishly hard to get. We knew this was the moment. We bought the cask and started in on a new partnership to create the whiskeys we wanted to drink.
What you’ve got in front of you is something very special indeed. It is the first fully realized product of our partnership. Only 200 bottles remain of the 300-bottle lot, and very few people have gotten their hands on it so far. It’ll be on shelves in NYC and CA soon, so consider this a preview.
If you were to describe the S&S aesthetic, it would be Americana-by-way-of-Japan, and that’s exactly where this whiskey lands. The concept behind this particular whiskey is the “split-base” cocktail, built with both Japanese and American Rye whiskeys. It blends the spice and menthol punch notorious in American Rye Whiskey with the finesse and nuance so loved in the best Japanese and Scottish malts.
The story of this whiskey starts long before the barrel, with the farm and the farmer. The bottle in your hands contains around $8 of grain in it; heritage grain that has been regeneratively grown with fair labor practices. (Compare that to the approximately 50 cents of industrial grain, or 75 cents worth of big, corporate organic grain found in other premium whiskeys.) These grains have not been optimized for yield or sugar production, meaning they pack a lot more punch in the flavor department than conventional or big organic grains.
What this means for the whiskey: you are going to taste much more grain than barrel, an experience more like a wine than a spirit.
We suggest that you start with a sip of this neat to experience the flavors. You will want to cut this as it is cask strength (120 proof). I personally dilute to about 40 proof with distilled water, and serve over one big cube, but it also plays nice as a highball. For cocktails, I try to avoid making anything too overbearing or sugary.
- Mash bill:
50% Admiral malt (Gallagher’s Best & Maiden Voyage)
25% Grass Valley (Reed Hamilton)
25% Purple Barley (Grain R&D, Queen Creek AZ)
- Aged in a rare Japanese Oak Cask
- Excellent on the rocks or in a highball
- Floor malted in the Bay area
- Copper Pot distilled in California
- 120 proof
The leatherneck (stolen from the bar program next door to us in Oakland)
- 5oz cask strength whiskey
- 5oz baralo chinato
- Blood orange bitters
- Grapefruit (or other citrus) twist
Stir with ice til cold, serve neat in a chilled glass, enjoy.