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DownSlope Distilling Double Diamond Whisky

Whiskey Review: DownSlope Distilling Double Diamond Whiskey  79.5/100

Downslope Distilling is the creation of three enterprising individuals, Mitch Abate, Matt Causey and Andy Causey. They began their experimentation and  passion for alcoholic spirits as home brewers. Andy dedicated himself to researching advanced wort production and home brewing techniques; Mitch traveled the country learning as much as he could about how whiskey was made: and Matt perfecting the art of grain mashing and fermentation.  Two years ago they decided to combine their talents and produce their brand of hand crafted spirits. Then they spent a year researching how this could be done, selecting the right facility, and acquiring the right equipment. Finally, they set out to establish Centennial Colorado’s first craft distillery.

Using their custom designed still and artisan wash production, Mitch Abate, Andy Causey, and Matt Causey are close to realizing their goal of producing spirits of  high quality.

Double Diamond Whisky

Pictured to the right is the Double Diamond Pot Still which is used to produce  Downslope Distilling’s whiskey.   The still was made by Copper Moonshine Stills in Arkansas, by Colonel Vaughn Wilson. The whiskey is produced in  the Irish tradition, being made primarily with malted barley.   One taste of it however, and you will realize  as well that a significant portion must be rye.  The whiskey is aged in very small experienced medium toast casks and then blended.

In the Bottle 5/5

Currently Double-Diamond whiskey is available in the distillery’s tasting room  sold in 1 liter wooden oak casks.  I love this idea for its uniqueness and the ambiance it creates.  The only drawback is that the oak will continue to impart its flavour to the spirit so it must be monitored and perhaps bottled when the oak begins to produce more bitter tannin and before you lose too much alcohol through evaporation.

DownSlope’s Double Diamond Whiskey is also available  in a short squat clear bottle.  It is sealed with a nice high density cork which provides that satisfying ‘pop’ when opened.  The labeling is clear and uncluttered and the entire presentation is professional and attractive.  I was given one of these bottles for the purpose of this review. My bottle was Barrel number WR-oo3, bottle number 24.

In the Glass 8/10

The whisky displays itself as a pale brown coloured spirit. There is no haze or hints of detracting sediments. A very light oil is present on the sides of the glass when it is swirled, and small skinny legs form and run down the sides of the glass.  The portion of rye in the distillate speaks clearly on the nose. This obvious rye note carries a light vanilla and honey with vague hints of anise. In spite of the Irish heritage of the malted barley, the impression one receives from the glass is that of a young slightly immature  Canadian Whisky with a mild harshness and medicinal quality.

In the Mouth 47.5/60

A light vegetal quality minces with the rye flavour in the mouth, and there is a gentle underlying sweetness which must stem from the malted barley.  Although the rye flavour carries  forward that typical ‘Canadian Whisky’ impression, we begin to taste an assertion of the ‘Irish Whiskey’ style as well.  I taste sandalwood, but very little very little oak spice and only fleeting morsels of vanilla and caramel. A firm anise quality rises in the flavour profile which begins to meld with the rye grain.

To be honest I find this very enjoyable, although it is perhaps just a tad under developed. The structure of a good whiskey is in place, and I am excited by the thought of how the whisky would taste with additional aging.

In the Throat 11/15

The further we travel through the course of Double Diamond whiskey the more the flavour profile directs itself towards the Irish style.  At the exit the whisky is full of sandalwood and an herbal anise-like quality that I recognize from a typical Irish whisky like Jameson.   There is perhaps a touch of harshness but it is a youthfulness as well which one might call invigorating.

The Afterburn 8/10

I am impressed with DownSlope Distilling’s first whisky product. There is much evidence of craftsmanship and attention to detail. I can sip the whisky neat even though it is not well aged which is a feat of mastery by the distiller and blender.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Suggested Recipe

I did a little experimentation with the Double Diamond Whisky and found it to be very versatile.  Although I found I could enjoy the whiskey neat or on the rocks, I also found that the spiciness added a nice layer of depth to some of my favourite whisky cocktails.   The recipe I  selected to share on my blog is based upon a classic Irish Cocktail,  the Irish Fizz.  My recipe is a little different and I call it the Double Diamond Fizz.

Double Diamond Fizz

1 1/2 oz DownSlope Double Diamond Whiskey
1/2 oz  Curacao
juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
1/2 tsp sugar syrup
ice

2 oz sparkling orange water
(Orangina)
ice

Shake the first four ingredients with ice in a metal shaker until frosted
Strain into a glass tumbler
Add ice-cubes
Complete with Orangina
Enjoy

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25     A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74   Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79   You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84   We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89   Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94   Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+        I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

23 Responses to “DownSlope Distilling Double Diamond Whisky”

  1. The blog is quite interesting and very well written. I personally prefer double diamond whiskey when I throw the party in any occasion.
    Thanks for sharing the post, you’ve done good job.

    • Arctic Wolf said

      Thanks Paso Roblas

      I am curious. When you throw a party, Do you mix the whiskey, or do you tend to drink it straight?

      Cheers!

  2. Chris said

    OK, So I got another bottle for Father’s Day and the flavor profile seems to have changed from my first comment. Now I get carmel and hazelnut. I definitely like this better than the first bottle I got (which I could not drink) and have enjoyed it better. I guess the folks and Downslope have made a few changes that now make this more of a sipping whiskey. Oddly enough, I can’t find the batch number anywhere on the bottle. I wonder if it fell off?

  3. Brandon in Highlands Ranch said

    I bought a bottle from Lukas because Downslope is local and I was intrigued. I drink single malts mainly but also bourbon and Canadian. Each style has its own merits and I haven’t really met a whisky I didn’t like. But this double diamond went down the drain after trying to enjoy it for a half hour or so – and I never do that. I’ll try it again another day as I have noticed that there are times when the wonderful flavors of even my familiar favorites just don’t come through (although the whisky I tasted next was ok).

    I’ve seen Mitch Abate pipe up on a couple of forums now and disagree with various reviewers. I don’t know what he submitted for competition, but I can say that I didn’t enjoy what was in my glass. It is not a matter for debate. But Mitch, I’ll accept that your whisky has won awards and has received compliments if you’ll accept that people’s opinions of what they ingest are sincere whether they are good or bad. Everyone’s a critic. I wish you much success and I look forward to your single malt!

    • Hi Brandon.

      I too have seen Mitch defend his whiskey vigorously on a few of the whiskey forums. I guess I put it down to a man believing in what he is doing. If you think about it, the guys at Downslope have put their hearts and souls into their whiskey in what must be a labour of intense love for what they are doing. They aren’t a big company who have trained PR puppets who are paid to be sweet and nice and to never offend anyone. Instead Mitch is the guy sweating it out trying to make the best whiskey he can. His passion for his work is obvious, and to be honest it is kind of refreshing that he will actually go those forums and engage with the public. Yes, I have seen times when a more diplomatic approach would probably be the better path, but at least he is honest and passionate, and I’ll take that over bland and diplomatic any day.

      I am curious about how you feel about the whiskey when you try it next. I have noticed on a few of those forums that people report that the whiskey improves with a little oxidation. Most of the initial harshness seems to be associated with the first few pours.

      • Chris said

        Ultimately one has to consider who the intended customer is and if they like it or not. Does not matter if anybody wins an award or not. Business are built on customers buying the product. If the product does not please the customer, then the producers of the product either need to find a different market/customer type or rethink their product. Awards only matter in getting ones attention and show a bit of credibility. It still comes down to what the customer thinks. So defend away, if few continue to buy the product, then good luck to you.

        With that said, I am curious to find out how the extra aging that Mitch has mentioned in an above reply will change the flavors and opinions of others who previously did not like what was produced. I am, of course, willing to try this next variant.

        Mitch has to suck it up and accept that we can disagree on what we like and don’t like and our taste buds are not all the same. Maybe I am not the right customer for his product and that is OK. No need to be so defensive. Accept that I don’t enjoy it as much as he wants me to. Pride can blind oneself to the truth as well.

        Chris

        • I agree that in the end it is the customer who is the ultimate judge and that respect should be shown for that customer whether you agree with him or not. Listening to honest criticism and learning from it is always a good approach.

      • Brandon in Highlands Ranch said

        Well I tried again today after first conditioning my palate with a couple of other whiskies. I have to stand by my first impression.

        But this is a young whisky and a young distillery. Mitch’s obvious passion and dedication to his craft will serve him well. In the bigger picture, I am super stoked to have a new artesanal distiller down the road. I may try some of their rums and I will be looking for a dram of their single malt for sure. I’ll put this on the shelf and revisit it in a few weeks. This very early experience will not close my mind to Downslope’s products. Again I wish Downslope much succes.

  4. aspidoscelis said

    I happened to get some of this whiskey yesterday; same barrel number (WR-006), bottle 264. In my opinion this is almost indistinguishable from corn liquor (e.g., Georgia Moon). There are some hints of rye and it seems to’ve mellowed a bit from its time in wood, but those are the little details around the edges. The big picture is: young corn whiskey. If this isn’t a mostly-corn mash bill, the folks at Downslope have somehow found a mix of barley and rye that tastes just like it.

    Personally, I’m not a fan of corn whiskey. I can see a role for it as cheap inebriation, but I cannot see it having a place in the more refined, high-end market for which this is priced and marketed.

    • All I can do is wonder how you taste corn. I tasted not a smidgen. And to be honest corn is something I notice very quickly.

      • aspidoscelis said

        Well, for my part I’m baffled by this:

        “At the exit the whisky is full of sandalwood and a herbal anise-like quality that I recognize from a typical Irish whisky like Jameson.”

        Either there is some massive variation among bottles, or one of us is utterly clueless… I have my suspicions about which one, but then I suppose you do as well. :-)

        • Personally I don’t think either one of us is clueless. You obviously taste what you taste and it baffles me, because I taste what I taste, and its as if we are tasting two different whiskeys. However, based upon the huge variation in tasting notes that I have seen not only in this thread but also online on different whisky forums, I believe that this whisky did indeed have a great amount of variation from batch to batch in the beginning and may still be experiencing this to a degree.

          I suspect that this is not uncommon for new spirits from Micro Distillers where productions are small and consistency from batch to batch is pretty much impossible. In fact when I met and spoke to Troy Roberts of Siesta Key Rum last May (another Micro-Distiller), he made it clear to me that the variation in flavour he was experiencing from batch to batch as he was learning what worked well and what didn’t was fairly substantial.

          BTW Your Barrel/Batch number appears to be WR-006, mine was WR-oo3, I think this means we had completely different batches. :)

  5. DavindeK said

    Hi Chip,

    I enjoyed the review of Double Diamond’s whisky, and the ensuing discussion. I have to say you make this whisky sound quite interesting. There certainly are characteristics found in young whiskies that get lost with ageing. I am not a big fan of so-called “white whisky” but it does have a certain appeal. Sounds like this Downslope whisky displays these more desireable qualities. I really love their still, by the way. The reflux must be awesome – probably one of the reasons you find the spirit so well structured.

    Just as an aside, I regularly buy and consume some whiskies that on my own scale, score in the mid to high 70’s. Some names you would be very familiar with. As I read your reviews (I’ve been a lurker for some time, as you know) I note many similarities among your impressions and my own, so I wish these guys success and hope they are around long enough that I eventually stumble across a bottle.

    Davin

  6. We at Downslope Distilling appreciate your honest review of our Double-Diamond Whiskey.
    We agree that the whiskey may need more time to age.
    We have been very successful however in bars which use our whiskey for mixed drinks.
    As time progresses we will release whiskey that is more mature.
    We released the current stock in order to get the public’s opinion. We have clearly stated to everyone that the whiskey is young.

    As far as Chris’s comments are concerned we disagree with a number of his comments.
    Futhermore, we do not accept returns, if he does not like this style of whiskey, a bottle from another batch will not change his opinion.

    As mentioned in the review, we do sell mini-barrels of the whiskey. Everyone who has purchased the barrels (over 50 patrons) loved the way the whiskey matured after being in the barrel for a few months.

    • Thank you very much Mitch for your comments.

      I understand that as a new company, getting your product out to the public for commentary is very important in the early stages. I for one am looking forward to your aged whiskies when they are available, because as I have have said more than once, I believe you have the structure in place for a very good whisky.

      All the Best

      Chip

  7. Chris said

    Ah yes. I see. I have not yet read the article on the scoring methodology you use, so I apologize for the differences in scoring methods I have (mine are pretty base/plain, but a brief look of yours tells me you are more objective and artistic in method). I think of around 25/100 as spit it out, 50 as must mix, 75 neat or mixed and 100 as I have to drink this every day it is so darn good. :)

    I am thinking about contacting the distillers about returning the bottle for a different batch to see if I have the same response. I live in Colorado so it should not be a problem, I think. If I can and try a different batch, I will let you know. I met the owners when they released their rum and vodka at a near by wine shop.

    • It sounds as though the more we hash this out, the closer to agreement we have come. Although let us hope we never agree entirely, because that would be no fun. (It was so nice in your original comment that you so respectful in your disagreement. It left us both open to discussion.)

      All thebest
      Chip

  8. Chris said

    I must say that I don’t like this whiskey and I disagree with the review. The aroma and taste reminds me of my days in organic chemistry lab. Definitely tastes distilled with some sort of odd flavor that is reminiscent of the artificial banana scent/flavor we made in O-Chem lab. I do agree that it generally goes down smooth with a little kick at the beginning and end. I can’t get over the aroma. It still overpowers my taste buds and sense of smell that I can’t pick out anything else. It takes a bit, but I eventually taste the rye in the after taste. This tastes nothing like any of the Irish Whiskeys I have had the pleasure of imbibing. Barrel WR-006, Bottle 107. The rums are wonderful, however.

    • I hear you Chris. I mentioned the immature, slightly harsh, and medicinal aroma in the review, as well as the vegetal tones and underdeveloped flavour. I guess I found other things which I liked, especially the underlying structure which seemed to me to be moving towards the flavour of Jamesons. But I can understand your point of view. I just placed about half of my bottle into a small oak cask to try to bring some more oak to the table and to perhaps develop the flavour somewhat.

      Its always good to hear from those who respectfully disagree with me! Thanks!

      (I also would not be surprised if this whiskey shows a lot of variation from batch to batch and so your good sense to include your bottle number is appreciated.)

      • Chris said

        Ah, so though of the vegetal tones as negative, I originally thought you meant them as a positive. Thanks for the clarification. I admit I didn’t see the medicinal aroma comment. My fault on that since I agree with that comment.

        Yeah, small batches can carry a big difference. I agree that it probably needs to stay in the barrel longer. I bought it already bottled, so it is difficult to put it back in the barrel. Maybe buying one of those litre in barrel versions would help me figure out how long it needs to age for my tastes.

        I would have given it a total of 50/100. the 50 would be for the promise that you state, but not quite drinkable, yet.

        Cheers!

        • Vegetal tones are not in themselves negative, its a matter of how they work with what’s there. In this case I think I was trying to describe a taste of immaturity, kind of “fresh from the still’ flavour similar to the taste one finds in Cachaa or Blanco Tequila. Probably my descriptor was wrong, and I should have just said exactly what I meant in plain english. Sorry bout that.

          Your scoring is much lower that mine, its hard to say if that is a result of a different batch (I suspect this is a good chunk of the reason) or a different preference. For me to score a spirit in the 50s would mean I was spitting it out faster than I was taking it in with fear that it might kill me. Scores in the 60s generally mean I can swallow but prefer not to, and 70s are spirits which I must mix, but can enjoy.

          When I tasted this spirit I actually had friends over, and we all felt about the same. A good structure, but slightly immature.

 
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