Woodenville White Dog: My First Sip of Whiskey in the Raw!

My first taste of white dog whiskey came in late July of this year.  I went over to a friend’s house and he had just come back from a trip to Washington State.  While there he dropped in on the folks at Woodenville Whiskey Company a micro distillery in Woodenville, Washington.

He picked up some interesting things, not the least of which was a used Rye barrel that he used to age some fantastic home brewed Russian Imperial Stout.  I was fortunate enough to try this stout a couple times, once in process of aging, and the finished product which was fantastic.

So if you are a whiskey company and want to get product to market quickly how do you do it? There are now a couple of ways to accomplish this.  First is use smaller barrels that can aid in quick aging of the spirit.  Second, bottle and sell your white dog whiskey, and that is exactly what they have done.

Their Headlong White Dog Whiskey is a 86 proof white dog that comes directly from the still.  There is no aging, no barreling, quite simply put, this is whiskey in its purest form.  So how does it taste?

In a word…good.  But in another word…strange.  The good part is this, it had a really good flavor.  Quite sweet up front then giving way to a big peppery hole in the middle and having a medium bodied, albeit a bit watery finish.  It had decent heat and warmth to it, and I thought it might actually be more like a cordial than a hard liquor.  The sweetness was definitely the corn I could taste in the mash, but I could also taste a peppery rye quality as well.  When I say peppery it wasn’t overwhelming by any means, but had some good heat and that flavor from the rye.

The strange was that big hole in the middle.  This hole is usually filled by the complexities that only barrel aging can bring.  Flavors like vanilla, caramel, oak, leather and tobacco were missing…and frankly I wanted them there.  So while white dog is good, I found it strangely lacking.  In my head I was trying to fill that hole with all the wonders a barrel might do, and thinking this would make a great finished product.  But, nonetheless I felt like it wasn’t done.

I understand why people like white dog, because it is good, but in my mind I was a bit confused by it.  I’m not sure when I would drink it.  Would it make a good night cap? Or a nice drink after a meal, maybe with a cigar?  Perhaps, but I kept thinking if I was going to drink at those times, why not just have a good finished and complete whiskey.  I encourage everyone to try white dog at least once, because it is a good experience, and who knows you might like it better than the finished product, but for my taste I’m gonna stick with good ol’ barrel aged whiskey.


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16 Comments on “Woodenville White Dog: My First Sip of Whiskey in the Raw!”

  1. October 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    Who is this burly man posting on BeerBrother.com?!!

    • Don
      October 4, 2012 at 2:04 pm #


  2. October 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    Maybe folks drink it to get drunk on the cheap….

    • Don
      October 4, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

      Pretty sure it isn’t that cheap, as it is only micro distilleries that bottle it, and they use the proceeds to keep the distillery doors open while the real whiskey is aging away.

  3. October 4, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

    That must be how a shiner feels when he takes that first sip of fresh squeezin’s. Difference is that they like their whiskey fresh.

    • Don
      October 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

      Well Wayne, they can have it. I wouldn’t turn this stuff down, but I wouldn’t seek it out. It was good, in the same way that whiskey is good without all the complexity which makes barrel aged whiskey great!

      • October 4, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

        I understand Don…you’re all about flavor and taste. There’s simply not enough complexity in fresh whiskey to suit your palate. I suspect that you’re not particularly fond of vodka or gin either.

        • Don
          October 4, 2012 at 5:22 pm #

          You’re right about vodka, but there are some particularly great artisan gins out there which are well worth my time. I love tequila too.

  4. BeerBear
    October 4, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    Some very good friends visited Russia and brought me a bottle of real Russian Vodka. It tasted much more like a slightly understated gin than any vodka I have ever tried. I was quite surprised by the depth of flavor, undoubtedly the best vodka I ever tried.

    • October 4, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

      I had Russian Vodka when when I was in the Urals back in the ’90’s–I didn’t care for it any more than I did the so-called Vodka made here. I opted for Georgian Brandy or Belgian beer while I was there.

  5. Brendan
    October 4, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    No question that microdistilleries are going to lead the way on the reemergence of white dog. While stuff is aging in nice oak barrels, bills still have to be paid and folks still need to eat.

    Buffalo Trace makes a neat white dog, tastes a lot like grapefruit, to the extent that you can taste much. It’s a complete waste to try it without water.

    • October 4, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

      The folks I knew always mixed their fresh whiskey and apple jack w/ Pepsi. Why, I don’t know, but there you have it.

  6. John King
    October 5, 2012 at 6:05 pm #

    Check out Sugar Shine by Limestone Branch…..(shameless plug)

  7. October 8, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    Ya’ll might also want to check out this page: http://www.ellenjaye.com/wh_index.htm

  8. happymistakesbrewing
    October 12, 2012 at 10:20 pm #

    I use it in bloody mary’s and its pretty good. Also, not a vodka fan either, but try Karlson’s if you can find it. Its the only vodka I’ve ever wanted to drink straight.

  9. October 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    you have a typo on Woodenville, its spelled Woodinville :- )

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