Spirit and cocktails enthusiasts gathered downtown at LA’s GreenBar Collective recently to sample their latest offering, Slow Hand White Whiskey. Made from three organic grains (oats, malt and spelt), this new variety is meant to drink immediately rather than being barreled and aged. Slow Hand is one of many white whiskeys to be released recently as producers search for new ways to bring sophisticated product to market without the long-term investment aged whiskey requires.
According to Khosrovian, Slow Hand “is a whiskey we developed from scratch to become a white whiskey not to be aged and then sold. It’s made so you can have it over a cube of ice like you would a nice whiskey. It opens up a whole new product to be made into cocktails that is the grain equivalent of silver tequila or white rum or pisco or tons of other clear spirits that don’t exist as a grain spirit.”
To develop the flavor profile, they fermented several grains, distilled each separately, and then blended the Slow Hand components together at the end of the process. “The selection of grains is specifically made for white whiskey,” adds Khosrovian. “You would never make aged whiskey with oats. The flavor of the oats would be overwhelmed by the wood. We ferment very slowly using two different yeasts. We start with an ale yeast which produces very fruity and floral qualities, just like if you have an IPA. We finish with a champagne yeast which ferments it dry, so there is no more sugar left. We have a complex distillate or fermented mash that you would never do for aged whiskey.”
At GreenBar, they ferment the components for Slow Hand in temperature-controlled tanks typically used for white wine. These closed tanks purposefully slow down fermentation to produce more flavor and aroma than an open-top hot fermenter. Aged whiskey is usually distilled below 80% alcohol, but Slow Hand is distilled above to achieve a light, fresh and clean flavor. “If we distilled it below 80% you would have much more flavor, and much more congeners that would make sense only in the presence of a lot of wood. We built this from scratch to be a true white whiskey, not just an aged whiskey that we are selling before it is ready.”
Slow Hand will be available soon at retailers and bars that carry GreenBar spirits. For more information visit their website.