Dry Fly Distilling in Spokane led the charge on changing Washington's craft distilling laws back in 2008, quickly gained acclaim for its vodka and gin, and got busy ageing. Last year, Dry Fly released a very small batch of honest-to-god aged bourbon, the first of its kind made in Washington under the new laws, and the initial release of 450 bottles sold out within two hours.
Now a new, equally limited bottling of Bourbon 101 hits stores around December 1...along with four other special releases dubbed the Creel Collection (creels being the traditional wicker baskets used by anglers, hence in keeping with Dry Fly’s fly-fishing theme).
Cofounder Kent Fleischmann says the distillery didn’t intend to unleash all these at once, but he and his cohorts just kept coming up with ideas. “We just went crazy a while back,” he says. "And everything came together at once."
It's easiest to break down these releases individually. If there's something you can't live without, act fast. While bottles should appear at select Seattle stores, Dry Fly is releasing just a few hundred cases of these 375 ml bottles (six to a case). After that, Creel spirits will return intermittently. Keep an eye on the website for more specifics.
Straight Washington Bourbon 101
The spirit that inspired such a frenzy last summer is back for a second release. Dry Fly ages its version, made with entirely Washington ingredients, for three years.
Straight Triticale Whiskey
This one has Fleischmann and crew particularly excited. Rye whiskies tend to be bolder than other versions, but it's tough to find that particular grain growing in our fair state. Since Dry Fly uses only local ingredients, he was excited to discover that triticale, a hybrid of wheat and rye, can grow here naturally, even if it isn't indigenous. The distillery team tried a sample batch and pronounced the results "amazing." That was nearly three years ago, and about 60 barrels have been ageing this whiskey since then. Fellow cofounder Don Poffenroth told the Spokesman-Review that this might be the first time triticale whiskey has been produced commercially.
Barrel Reserve Gin
Dry Fly's gin was one of the first Washington microspirits on the market. At some point, the distillery team wondered, "what would happen if we put it in a new barrel for six months?" Well, this happened, and Fleischmann is quite pleased with the result.
Port Barrel Finish Wheat Whiskey
Since creating its whiskey, the Dry Fly team was pondering how to do a local take on ageing it in a port barrel. Luckily they connected with Townshend Cellar, and the whiskey is finished in its huckleberry port casks. Once this is gone, don't expect to see it for another year.
Straight Cask Wheat Whiskey
An oak-aged version of Dry Fly's popular 100-percent Washington wheat whiskey. The spirit had quite a fan base even before the distillery aged it in casks for nearly three years.