The Watershed Distillery was founded in 2010 in Columbus, Ohio. They were one of the early distilleries founded in Ohio in the recent growth of artisan distilleries and I remember my friend John Lipman giving me a sample of their early whiskey after they opened. It was young at that time, but very solid whiskey. They have matured whiskey now and it lives up to my expectations from that early sample.
Ohio has seen quite the growth in artisan distilleries in the past decade. They are producing whiskey, as well as other products such as brandy and gin. Watershed Distillery makes an apple brandy in addition to Bourbon and one of these whiskeys Matt and I have tasted here is finished in an apple brandy barrel. It is innovation such as this that make artisan distilleries so much fun.
Watershed Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon
Age: Four Years Old
- Mike: Lots of vanilla and caramel with some citrus notes – either sweet orange or tangerine, with only a hint of sweet oak.
- Matt: Caramel forward with cotton candy and a hint of leather and oak.
- Mike: Vanilla and definitely tangerine with a little baking spices and oak. Tasted with a dried cranberry and the tangerine dominates the flavor as the spices and oak are moved into the background. Tasted with a pecan and the flavor becomes strong in vanilla and oak.
- Matt: Vanilla – marshmallows and orange citrus with just a hint of oak. The dried cranberry brought out a little cayenne pepper note. The pecan brought out caramel and maple syrup with some sweet oak.
- Mike: Medium long with oak and baking spices with a little lingering tangerine. The dried cranberry brought out the sweet oak wood flavors with only a hint of baking spices. The pecan made the finish long with sweet oak wood and vanilla.
- Matt: Long and spicy with a little lingering citrus. The dried cranberry made the finish a little more peppery with some cayenne pepper and grapefruit tartness – like a beer with lots of hops. The pecan made the finish taste of toasted caramel and spice.
Watershed Bourbon Finished in Apple Brandy Barrels
Age: Four Years Old
- Mike: Very simple nose with vanilla and apples.
- Matt: Vanilla and apples with a bit of nutmeg spice.
- Mike: Vanilla and apples with baking spices – cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom and a little oak wood. Tasted with a dried cranberry and it becomes even more brandy-like with lots of apple and a hint of citrus with only a little vanilla. Tasted with a pecan and the apple moves to the background with more vanilla and spice dominating the flavor.
- Matt: Lots of vanilla and apple with a touch of cinnamon spice. The dried cranberry made the apples a tart apple and the spice a nutmeg spice. The pecan brought back the cinnamon spice and apples as well as a little more oak wood.
Finish: Very smooth but not short with lots of spice – ginger and cinnamon with some oak wood. The dried cranberry brought the cinnamon forward – like a red hot candy with a little oak. The pecan made the finish like baked apples with cinnamon and nutmeg.
I would pair these two whiskeys with a cigar with some cedar spiciness. I would reach for a RoMa Craft Neanderthal cigar as there is plenty of spice in the smoke that should complement the spice in these two whiskeys, but also some nice earthy tobacco notes that should enhance the vanilla and caramel notes of the whiskeys.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller