I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I’m constantly intrigued by “non-traditional” grain bills used in whiskey and the Corsair Quinoa Whiskey is no exception.
Until recently all I knew of Corsair is that they are always experimenting with something in their Nashville Tennessee facility. Boasting a whopping 22 different spirits on their website including standard and seasonal offerings they sound more like a brewery than a distillery. This may be in part due to the originators Darek Bell and Andrew Webber’s past experience with home brewing beer prior to founding Corsair. According to their website, this type of adventurous spirit has lead to earning 41 medals at international spirits competitions. Some might say that this is simply due to a large number of product offerings but I think this quote from Whiskey Advocate says it best:
“None of that would work if it weren’t for a solidly made malt whiskey providing the framework. That’s what makes Corsair more than a freak show of variety. Anyone can throw grains, smoke, hops, or spices in a fermenter or a still. It takes skill, restraint, and a good palate to make an award-winner out of it.”
If you’re not familiar with Quinoa (I wasn’t either) it is South American grain-like crop usually grown for it’s edible seeds. Other than using it for whiskey, Quinoa seeds can be cooked similar to rice and are served in a variety of dishes today. Although there are 3 colors of Quinoa (red, white and black), Corsair’s blend only uses the Red and White Quinoa grains.
This Quinoa based spirit has earned a Silver at the 2011 New York International Spirits Competition and a Bronze, 2012 American Distillers Institute Awards and as far as I know it is the only Quinoa based whiskey on the market today.
Now that we have all enjoyed a lesson in horticulture, how did it taste?