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Fresh spirits: Troubled Minds Distilling to unveil American-style and single malt whiskey

Troubled Minds Distilling will release its first American-style whiskey and single malt whiskey early next year. (Courtesy of Jeremy Kinter)

Patience is a virtue when it comes to making whiskey, and Troubled Minds Distilling’s new whiskeys will be worth the wait.

The distillery will be unveiling its corn-based American-style whiskey and its single malt whiskey in mid-January. The American-style whiskey will be a little over 2 years old, and the single malt will be slightly over 1 year old.

“In late 2017, early 2018, we finally became legal as far as making spirits here on site, and so right away it was one of the first ones I wanted to get going, because I knew it was going to be a while before we could age it (to where it) would be the whiskey,” said David Hargis, distiller and co-owner. “And so that was what I taught myself to make when I first started distilling about 20 years ago. … I knew it was gonna take a while to get it aged, so the priority was to get that made right away.”

Hargis said the flavor of the American-style whiskey has changed continuously during the aging process.

“About a month ago or three weeks ago was the last time that I pulled some out,” he said. “And it’s definitely got the vanilla from the barrels. It’s got a little bit of honey, and I’ll definitely sit down once we bottle again and get to wrap my arms around it one more time. But, yeah, so you’re getting a little bit of yolk coming through, vanilla, and then this real soft honey is also in there. So it’s kind of where it stands right now.”

The single malt offers a different flavor because it does not take as long to age as the American-style whiskey.

“To me, I’m a big fan of both, but the nice thing about single malt, for us being a distillery, is that with your corn-based whiskey, with your American-style whiskey, they truly need to age, because corn has some characters that really take some time to develop into what you want to highlight. Whereas with a single malt, it tends to be already a little more mellow, and doesn’t take quite as long to age. So having used one of my old corn whiskey recipes is what kind of landed where I thought we would. But this was the first time we’ve done a single malt or that I’ve done a single malt.”

Until now, the distillery purchased whiskey and bourbon from other manufacturers. But now its whiskeys will be distilled 100% in-house from scratch. The plan was to release the whiskeys by Christmas, but the COVID pandemic had other plans.

“Yeah with COVID, we’ve been a little bit lighter on our staff,” Hargis said. “And so the goal was for Christmas, but I’m gonna miss that. But it will definitely be mid-January, we’ll have it ready to go. … We’ll have it ready for sale to the public by mid-January.”

Troubled Minds launched its first spirit, a vodka, in spring 2018. Since then, it has developed several other libations.

“So we did the vodka first, and then a little bit later that summer we were able to get some gin going,” Hargis said. “So that’s been out there since the probably midsummer of 2018. And then I think it was around fall, it was definitely fall of 2018, that we got our first Agave Blanco out there, and then the reposado just released fall of 2020, in October. So the next one in the portfolio will be this single malt and the American-style whiskey. And then I think we’ll start playing around just maybe with some different flavored stuff.”

Troubled Minds products are available for purchase at its sister brewery’s taprooms, including Tractor Brewing Co. Wells Park, 1800 Fourth NW, its West Side location at 5720 McMahon NW and its Nob Hill taproom at 118 Tulane SE. Troubled Minds spirits can also be purchased for contactless pickup by visiting and clicking on the “store” tab at the top of the page.

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