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Bourbon Whiskey

Get adventurous in 2023 with some Arizona whiskey

A glass of whiskey next to a bottle labeled Cherry Bomb with a drawing of two cherries

Photo: Jeremy Duda/Axios

It’s a new year, and I decided that the first bottle of whiskey I opened in 2023 should have some local flavor.

Details: I sipped on a recently purchased bottle of Cherry Bomb, a rye whiskey from Tempe’s Adventurous Stills.

  • It gets its name from the mash bill — the mixture of grains used to distill it — which is 90% rye and 10% malted barley that’s smoked over cherrywood.
  • The wood imparts some cherry-tasting notes to the whiskey.
  • Cherry Bomb was the Adventurous Stills Explorer’s Club special release for the third quarter of 2022.

The big picture: I was impressed. The cherrywood brings a unique flavor.

  • It’s bottled at about 60% alcohol, so this is a whiskey for drinkers who like a high proof point.

What they’re saying: “It’s our classic MO. We go off and we try some weird stuff and we see what happens,” Adventurous Stills owner Kelly Lattig tells Axios Phoenix. “It was a bit of a revelation to me, this notion of using small amounts of smoked malt. It doesn’t make it super-smoky, but it sure adds an interesting taste. So that’s a path I’m going to spend some years going down.”

Meanwhile: If you want to grab the fourth-quarter special release, its Einkorn wheat whiskey, you’d better hurry. Lattig says there are only a few bottles left.

  • The whiskey is 72% Sonoran white wheat and 28% Einkorn, an ancient grain that lends a peppery spice to the traditional smoothness of wheat whiskey, giving the spirit a unique character.

What’s next: Lattig says Adventurous Stills has a full slate of special releases coming up this year.

  • The first quarter will see an oat whiskey. A new version of its Peralta Bourbon will be out in the second or third quarter, along with a millet-based bourbon, and the fourth quarter will feature a blue corn whiskey with a to-be-determined finish.

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