The bad news is that Redwood Empire is not a new HBO period drama starring Steve Buscemi as an early 20th century timber baron. The good news is that Redwood Empire is a whiskey from California’s Graton Distilling Company, the same outfit behind Benham’s Sonoma Dry Gin. Sixty percent of this blended whiskey is made up of house-distilled rye, some of which has been aged in wine and port barrels, and the other 40 percent is a mixture of four, five, and 11-year-old bourbons.
Redwood Empire American Whiskey pours a medium, reddish-brown in the glass and has vanilla, raisin, and corn on the nose. It’s light and acidic on the palate, and begins with tart cherry. A creamy vanilla note emerges at the center, in tandem with earthy straw. It takes on a light, fruity note at the end with pronounced raspberry, followed by a sudden, powerful burst of spice triggering a dry finish.
Redwood Empire is a light-bodied whiskey with a remarkable range of flavor, and I suspect its acidic, fruity characteristics owe to the wine and port barrels used to age the rye. America’s wine country seems to have left its mark on this whiskey, and it’s a welcome cross-over.
— 45% ABV