Craft Distilleries | Review

Every Redwood Empire Whiskey Reviewed

Last updated Mar 27, 2021

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by Matty Sims

Glencairn Whiskey Glass

Redwood Empire Whiskey pays homepage to mighty Redwoods of Northern CA — ruling from San Francisco to Humbolt Bay and up to the Oregon border — as well as the John Muir, popular naturalist, conservationists, and the Father of the National Parks. Graton Distilling Company revitalized an old apple processing plant in a small town in Sonoma County.

Derek Behnam, an entrepreneur and wine enthusiast, planted his roots in Graton, CA in 2016. Graton Distilling Co. started offering Gin and Vodka but soon branched out to whiskeys. It’s also honoring Sonoma County’s deep roots in the wine industry by blending with wine cask finished whiskeys and also offering bourbon finished in wine casks.

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Redwood Empire Pipe Dream Bourbon

Redwood Empire Pipe Dream Bourbon
Pipe Dream BourbonDetails
In the Bottle90 Proof
ABV45%
Mashbill75% corn, 21% raw rye and 4% malted barley
Distilled and AgedMGP and No Cal
Age4, 5, and 11-years-old
StyleBlended Bourbon
Size750 mL
Suggested MSRP$44
DistilleryGraton Distilling Co.
9119 Graton Rd.
Graton, CA 95444
ProsLove the Fruity Nose
ConsNeeds More Complexity on Palate
AvailabilityLimited Distribution
RatingSilver 87 out of 100 Points
InventoryDaily Drinker
Buy OnlineBuy Online

Glass completely covered with oily bourbon. Slow but long legs cote the inside of my glass. Color is honey and bronze.

Nose – 89 out of 100 Points

This nose has deep, rich cooked down red fruit with savory baking spice and caramel.

Taste – 86 out of 100 Points

Just a hint of that cooked-down fruit. It’s mostly baking spice and caramel walnuts. It’s dry on the palate but creamy with some oak and oatmeal.

Finish – 86 out of 100 Points

The finish is medium. More dry but creamy baking spice and oatmeal.

Verdict – Silver 87 out of 100 Points

The Bourbon Bard Silver Medal

A solid drinking experience from glass to finish. I do wish more of that fruity note would’ve come through in the palate. It would’ve added more complexity and intrigue.

Awards

  • 94 Points – Tasting Panel Magazine (2020)
  • Double Gold – SIP Awards (2020)
  • Double Gold San Diego Spirits Festival (2020)

Redwood Empire Emerald Giant Rye Whiskey

Redwood Empire Rye

Redwood Empire Emerald Giant Rye Whiskey
Emerald Giant Rye WhiskeyDetails
In the Bottle90 Proof
ABV45%
Mashbill75% corn, 21% raw rye and 4% malted barley
Distilled and AgedMGP and No Cal
Age2 to 3-years-old
StyleBlend of 3 Year from MGP and 2 Year of Their Own Distillate
Size750 mL
Suggested MSRP$34.99
ProsComing Soon
ConsComing Soon
AvailabilityLimited Distribution
RatingComing Soon
InventoryComing Soon
Buy OnlineBuy Online

Full review coming soon

Awards

  • 97 Points Tasting Panel Magazine (2019)
  • Double Gold Las Vegas Global Spirit Awards (2019)
  • Double Gold Sunset Magazine International Spirits Competition (2019)

Redwood Empire Lost Monarch American Whiskey

Redwood Empire American Whiskey

Redwood Empire Lost Monarch American Whiskey
Lost Monarch American WhiskeyDetails
In the Bottle90 Proof
ABV45%
MashbillMixed
Distilled and AgedMGP and No Cal
Age3-year-old rye (MGP)
2-year-old rye (house)
4, 5, and 11-yeara-old bourbon
StyleBlend MGP and Their Own Distillate
60% rye and 40% bourbon
Some cask finished in port, California chardonnay, and zinfandel included
Size750 mL
Suggested MSRP$34.99
ProsAmazing Value, Great Sipper
ConsLacks Elite Complexity
AvailabilityLimited Distribution
RatingSilver 87.3 out of 100 Points
InventoryBuy It
Buy OnlineBuy Online

Nose – 87 out of 100 Points

The upfront aroma is bright red fruit followed by baking spice and toasted oak. It’s a pleasant enough nose but I wish it were more compelling.

Taste – 88 out of 100 Points

It reminds me of Greek yogurt with fresh red fruit. It’s also has a nice baking spice and toasted oak on the mid-palate. The creaminess boosts the drinking experience for me. There’s also vanilla and caramel. It’s refreshing.

Finish – 87 out of 100 Points

The finish is medium. Baking spice is prominent with hints of white pepper rounded out with those sweet fruit notes.

Verdict – Silver 87.3 out of 100 Points

The Bourbon Bard Silver Medal

Lost Monarch is a delicious sipper. It could be a great whiskey with more complexity and depth.

Awards

  • Double Gold SIP Awards (2020)
  • Gold Medal Las Vegas Global Spirit Awards (2019)
  • 94 Points Cigar and Spirits Magazine (2017)

Redwood Empire Haystack Needle (Wine Cask Finished)

Redwood Empire Haystack Needle Cask Finishes

What would you expect from a whiskey distillery in Northern California? Their single barrel bourbons are offered in three cask finishes — chardonnay, port, and cabernet. I’ve yet to see one of these less than 12 years but I’ve seen some as old as 14. I’m on the hunt for some samples of all three to give a full review.

Chardonnay Cask

Full Review Coming Soon

Port Cask

Full Review Coming Soon

Cabernet Cask

Full Review Coming Soon

Which Redwood Empire Whiskey is best?

Check out the Mash and Drums review of the three main expressions to find out:

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Why trust The Bourbon Bard?

Written by Matty Sims

Matty Sims is a storyteller who loves bourbon. He has been drinking and studying whiskey for over 10 years. He has also been featured on sites like Bourbon Sippers, Explore Whiskey, and Inside Hook, partnered with dozens of distilleries, and reviewed hundreds of whiskeys.
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