St. Patrick’s Day is almost upon us and if you’re looking to celebrate with a Montana whiskey, well, you’re in luck.
Bigfork’s Whistling Andy Distillery is set to uncork one barrel of its first whiskey on March 17. Bottles of Harvest Select will be for sale on a first-come, first-serve basis at 10 a.m. at the distillery (8541 MT Hwy 35 Bigfork). There’s a two-bottle limit and the first 100 through the doors get a special treat: Whiskey Chocolate Cupcakes with Andy’s Irish Cream frosting. Cost is between $42-$48 a bottle.
Harvest Select Whiskey is made with grain from Lake Seed in Ronan. The grains are milled at The Hedstrom Farm north of Kalispell. Harvest Select is an American-style whiskey made from four grains: barley, wheat, corn and rye. After the blend of these four grains are fermented in our deep-aquifer water , the whiskey is triple distilled in our American-made pot still.
The whiskey has aged over the past year in medium-charred American white oak barrels made for Whistling Andy in Lynchburg, Tennessee. The ageing process gives the whiskey a golden amber hue, mellowing the fiery heart of the distilled spirit. Harvest Select Whiskey has a sweet, fruity nose leading into warm spiciness mid-palate and finishes smooth with accents of toasted caramel and well-rounded oak flavors.
The whiskey will also be for sale at state liquor stores in Missoula and Bozeman on a limited basis.
Now the only question is: What beer am I going to have with this?
- Matt Pritchard
Whistling Andy Inc. of Bigfork recently won a Platinum Medal for their Hibiscus Coconut Rum at the 2011 Spirits International Prestige Awards in San Diego. This marks the first time a Montana distillery has received a medal in any international spirit competition, according to a news release. The Spirits International Prestige Awards, which were held on June 28, were established three years ago to fill a “lingering void” in international spirits competition.
Here’s how Whistling Andy’s Hibiscus Coconut Rum is made:
Whistling Andy’s hibiscus coconut rum begins with their crystal rum, based on traditional Caribbean recipes using blackstrap molasses and unrefined cane sugar. After fermenting their recipe for eight days they triple distill the resulting alcoholic concoction, resulting in a smooth sipping white rum with wonderful notes of banana, licorice and plum. Next, the distillers at Whistling Andy steep in dried hibiscus flowers sourced from a tea company in Jamaica. The hibiscus has a very floral aroma, accenting the fruity nose of the rum. Whistling Andy’s staff purchases natural coconut from a company that spins coconut water through a centrifuge to pull the fat out, resulting in a clean, clear subtle coconut flavor without any chemical suntan lotion-like aftertaste or particulates. The result is a deep red, wonderfully scented rum with coconut undertones that finishes incredibly smooth.
And here’s a little background information:
Whistling Andy distillery opened its doors to the public on New Year’s Eve, 2010. In just seven months Whistling Andy’s distillers are already producing vodka made with 100 percent Montana winter wheat, three different styles of gin, crystal rum, hibiscus coconut rum, moonshine and are aging two different styles of whiskey. The first barrel of harvest whiskey, an American-style whiskey with barley, wheat, corn and rye, will be ready for bottling at the end of October. All of the grains used in Whistling Andy products come from one family farm in Ronan.
Whistling Andy distilling is owned and operated by the Anderson and Marchetti families. The name Whistling Andy originated from Roger Anderson’s Air Force nickname and the man on the labels of the Whistling Andy liquor bottles is Jean Claude, Dana Marchetti’s great grandfather. An interesting side note about Jean Claude, he was a Teetotaler, abstaining from alcohol. Hopefully he had a good sense of humor.
- Matt Pritchard