An Albuquerque distiller has shaved years off the aging process of whiskey without sacrificing the quality.
Now whiskey consumers no longer have to wait up to 10 years for a great aged whiskey. Distiller Scott Feuille found a way to accelerate the process to produce his Taylor Garrett Whiskey in six days that is comparable to whiskeys aged for a decade.
“What I figured out is a way to take that process and get a subjective eight- to 10-year equivalent product,” Feuille said. “And, again, I say ‘subjective,’ because there’s no way to really do it other than taste it against other whiskeys and say that tastes kind of the same, a lot of the same characteristics, the same nose, the same flavors, the same smoothness, the mouth feel and all the things you’re looking for in all spirits, and it tastes very close to equivalent of an eight- to 10-year whiskey, a bourbon whiskey, a U.S. whiskey, and all that happens in six days. It’s a game changer.”
Feuille, who is also a pilot, has an engineering background, which helped him understand the science of aging and chemistry and what happens to the characteristics of a raw spirit when you have it sit in a wood barrel.
“I just happened to be reading an article about a completely unrelated field, dermatology, and there was a treatment that they used and the chemical reaction in that treatment was very similar to what’s going on in one very important aspect in the aging process,” Feuille said. “I thought, ‘Hmm, I wonder if that would work with whiskey?’ So I built the prototype, and sure enough, it worked.”
Taylor Garrett Whiskey is created with New Mexico grains as well as locally produced and roasted non-GMO corn. It also includes barley and rye from Monte Vista, Colorado. White oak is toasted to a particular profile and charred. It is then placed in the Taylor Garrett ager to add to the flavor profile of the whiskey.
“Our flagship Taylor Garrett Whiskey is a bourbon-style mash, so it’s mostly corn, 65% corn,” Feuille said. “We do 25% rye and 10% barley, so it’s got a little bit of sweetness upfront and some spiciness on the back of your palate. That’s the rye.”
Feuille is considering making a rye whiskey as the next product in the Taylor Garrett Spirits product line.
“It’s a spicier, more bold, in-your-face whiskey,” he said. “So we’ll do a rye, and then we’re looking at different wood combinations, maybe using New Mexico pecan, and see what that does for aging, not commonly used in barrels, not used in barrels at all, so what does that impart to the whiskey that oak does not? So we’ll be looking at different grains, maybe smoked corn.”
Taylor Garrett Whiskey will be available to the public beginning on Sunday, Feb. 9. It will be available at Vara Wine and possibly expand to area restaurants and retailers in the future.
“Vara it’s all about the quality,” Feuille said. “It’s all about the presentation. It’s all about the experience that revolves around the fine wine. … With the level of quality that we’re going through with Taylor Garrett and the level of quality Vara puts into their products, I was fortunate that they thought I was a good fit and gave me the opportunity to get my product out there in this great environment.
Vara will offer the whiskey on the rocks, clean and in cocktails such as the First Class Old Fashioned. The Final Approach, a take on a whiskey sour, contains lemon and lime juice, bitters and a rosemary infusion and is dressed with a rosemary sprig. The Emergency Landing is a twist on the Final Approach and includes a spicy bitter or spicy shrub that gives the flavor a little kick. The Mile High Molly is a Moscow mule-inspired cocktail made with lemon, different bitters and apple cider and garnished with a dried apple slice. Ginger beer is added to the Mile High Molly to create another concoction, named the Mile High Red Head. The cocktail names and Taylor Garrett’s logo are inspired by Feuille’s aviation background and 10 years of active duty in the Navy. The name of the spirit company, Taylor Garrett, was inspired by the middle names of Feuille’s children.
“Our logo is meant to represent aviation with a formation, not necessarily airplanes, but a formation,” Feuille said. “The formation is moving upwards and speeding into the sky, so that’s our accelerating tradition. We’re not trying to get rid of tradition. Everything we do is very artisanal. We are very meticulous about everything we do in the distilling process.”