Aged for up to five years, these whiskies are made exclusively from barley that has been harvested and malted in Montana.
Nestled in the foothills of the Bridger Mountain Range in southwestern Montana, RoughStock Distillery is the first distillery in Montana since Prohibition, and the first distillery to make whiskey in Montana in over a century. The distillery is the brainchild of Bryan Schultz, RoughStock's owner and master distiller. After serving overseas in the armed forces, Schultz moved back to his native Montana in order to open the distillery. "We mortgaged everything we had," says Schultz, "we sold all of our stuff and we maxed out our credit cards, because we knew that the words "˜Montana' and "˜Whiskey' fit really well together."
RoughStock Montana Whiskey is made exclusively from barley grown and harvested in Montana. "We grow some world class grains here,"Schultz adds. After the barley has been harvested, it is malted in Montana by a company that has been practicing the art of malting barley for over a century. The malted barley is milled and mashed back at RoughStock, before being fermented in an open-top fermentation tank composed of old growth Oregon fir. The Oregon wood absorbs a portion of the heat generated during the fermentation process and as a result, allows for slower and more methodical fermentation (this ultimately leads to a more rich and flavorful whiskey). Following fermentation, the wash is distilled twice through Schultz's custom-made, Vendome copper-pot stills.
After distillation, a portion of RoughStock Montana Pure Malt Whiskey is matured for up to five years in American oak casks that have been toasted and then charred to the distillery's exact specifications, while the remainder is matured in casks that have been charred only. The casks are laid to rest in a temperature controlled warehouse in the foothills of the Bridger Mountains. "The frequent high pressure and low pressure weather systems near the mountains work the whiskey in and out of the barrel staves tirelessly," says Schultz.
RoughStock Black Label Montana Whiskey is also matured for up to five years, before the team at RoughStock Distillery hand-selects single barrels for bottling. "We're looking for deep, rich, complex aromas and tastes," says Schultz. "When those barrels are found, we put them aside for our Black Label." Once the barrel has been selected, it is bottled at cask strength — "unadulterated in any way." As a result of being the product of a single barrel, each bottle of RoughStock Black Label Whiskey varies slightly, although they all enjoy aromas of dark stone fruits, and notes of toffee and chocolate that lead to a long and warming finish.
"We're really trying to create whiskey with a Western flair," says Schultz. Try two Montana whiskies today!
Pure Malt: 90 (45% ABV);
This product is not available in AA, AE, AK, AL, AP, AR, DE, GU, HI, IL, KY, MA, ND, NH, OK, PA, PR, SD, TX, UT
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Pure Malt: Nose of light fruits including pears, apple and banana. Sweet notes of malt dominate and lead to barrel notes of vanilla, honey, toffee and a touch of cinnamon. Finish is lingering with hints of smoke and woody spices.