Born in the Southwest part of the USA Colkegan Santa Fe Single Malt is a whiskey that attempts to pay homage to Scotch by “adapting the processes” for America. They try to achieve this by using Mesquite to smoke the barley instead of using peat. So I’m totally sure what they mean by that, but using mesquite isn’t exactly Scottish nor unique. Del Bac uses it in their Dorado, Ranger Creek uses it in their Rimfire and High Spirits used to in their Mesquite Smoked Whiskey, just to name a few.
Though unlike the others, Santa Fe Spirits utilize a complex climate-controlled rickhouse to expose the aging barrels to extreme cold, heat, dry or humid conditions. The idea is to combine a mix of barrel types and maturation conditions to produce something that’s wholly unique and interesting for the market. Let’s see if they achieved that.
Colkegan Santa Fe Single Malt – Details and Tasting Notes
Region: New Mexico, USA
Distiller: Santa Fe Spirits
Mash: 100% Malted Barley
Cask: “Various Oak Casks” (no specifics listed)
Mesquite smoke, toffee, orange peels and a touch of earthy and generic sweetness. Not much going on here.
Mesquite, vanilla, toffee and a light bit of fruit and spice. Again, not much going on here.
Short fade of smoke, toffee, spice and a puff of wood.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Moderately balanced, medium body and a simple wateryfeel.
Colkegan Santa Fe Single Malt – Overall
Aroma is incredibly subdued with nothing much happening beyond some sweet smoke and a touch of fruit; Palate follows suite, but it’s missing that bit of earthiness from the aroma; Finish is quite nice, but shockingly short.
There’s nothing bad about the Colkegan Single Malt, but there’s nothing dynamic or exciting about it either. I see what they’re going for, but at this time, if I wanted this profile I’d reach for the Del Bac Dorado.
Colkegan Santa Fe Single Malt – Final Thoughts and Score
I might sound a little down on this, but I do see a lot of promise in this whiskey. The mesquite is well done and not overpowering, the malt flows through easily and the sweetness rounds it out nicely. It’s a quality spirit and it’s easy to tell that this could someday become an excellent whiskey.
I don’t know if they need to move to only large barrels, age it longer, stop using a mix of finishes or stop futzing about with their climate-controlled rickhouse, but I see some major potential for this once they dial it in. I’d love to revisit the Colkegan Santa Fe Single Malt in a couple of years and see where it’s at as their spirit, and their process matures.
Colkegan Santa Fe Single Malt Review
It has a ways to go, but it’s not terrible where it’s at now. Give it more time and I think this will become a fantastic whiskey.
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