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  • Writer's pictureSean Kincaid

DarkCloud Whisky of the Year #4 Review


Boulder The Trailhead

DarkCloud Whisky of the Year #4


Background

American Single Malt Whiskey

100% Malted Barley

Two single casks of white oak matured single malts (one peated and one non-peated)

Initially matured for 4 years, then filled into 2 Pedro Ximenez sherry butts for a further year, then married together before proofing down slightly to 52.5% abv

Released as a Canada Exclusive (minus 250 bottles sold at the distillery in Colorado)

Initially released in Alberta, and then in the BC Liquor spirits release in November.

Boulder Spirits have come in and taken Canada by storm. American whiskey being made by a Scotsman, in Scottish style stills but following American whiskey rules. From bourbons with the highest standard percentage of malted barley (45%), to finishing their bourbons, and single malts in top quality cask types, Boulder truly shows American Whiskey is ripe for innovation and thinking outside the box.


In the Glass

A dark burnt rusted colour, showing the PX influence even to the eye. A swirl and this shows some oily nature. Initial legs are fairly large but just take their time falling down the glass. Secondary legs develop but don't go anywhere for a long time. If a colour of a whiskey could be enticing, this one is that exact colour.


Nose

The initial sniff into the glass surprises me a tad. Expecting both the peat and the PX to be assertive, but they are not overpowering. They are there and are gorgeous but they are equally balanced with the barrel char and virgin oak cask influence from the initial maturation. There are some brighter fruit notes than I expected. A crabapple kinda tartness tickles the nostrils as the darker stewed fruit notes slowly creep out around these. A touch of nuttiness and sultanas and then a faint note of a cola but like the cola bottle candies we ate as kids. The peated half of the batch does come through a bit more as it sits in the glass a little longer. It's by no means a smoky nose but it's evident and embraces that barrel char from the virgin oak maturation.


Palate

Oh yes, now I remember exactly why this made my top 5 of the year. It starts off with more fruit on the palate than the nose would make you think. The PX fruits for sure. Sugar coated figs and some of that raisin note. This quickly evolves on the tongue and the familiar note I have found every time I sip this. It tastes like cola. I think this is from the peat and the PX casks balancing into each other. Leaves an amazing note that tastes like cola. The abv and those PX casks come together in harmony with a sweet cinnamon (think cinnamon sugar toast) and a touch of clove cigarette wafts over the tongue. The finish finds all the spice dissipating and leaving the sweet fruits and that cola note but like the aftertaste of downing a can of cola. An almost mocha note sticks around the longest but that smoke does show up in the distant campfire style.


Conclusion

Of all the whiskies that made my final top 5, The Trailhead is the one I got into the earliest in the year. It truly shows how great this is. When I got my first bottle of this, I cracked it that same day. The very next day I had two more in the cabinet. A super cool whiskey that hit so many great notes and a mostly Canadian exclusive, I knew I had to make sure I had a backup or two. It's rare for me to finish an entire bottle of whisky within a few months of getting it. I have already got into my second bottle and it's just sitting at the halfway point now. That says it all for me.


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