American Single Malt Whiskey Commission
I have to confess and be a little ashamed, because I have not spend much time on whiskies from America. Why?
Because for some stupid reason I could not get the preconception out of my head that America only has Bourbon and Rye. And whiskey with an extra 'e'. But I discovered something online that makes me want to visit a lot of new places!
Why? Because I knew there was more than Bourbon and Rye in the US.
I reviewed the Storyhouse straight rye whiskey and Balcones Texas Rye. But unfortunately, up to date, no Bourbon (yet). That lack of sharing does not mean I do not like these drinks. Quite the contrary, I happily sip on a Rye or Bourbon with equal pleasure as to a Malt whisky.
It might be that I focus too much on Single Malts. Which is not that strange, if you look at the name I'm using for my alter ego. And I think My eyes never looked at the big continent across the ocean.
But I knew America has those! I even have the review for the Westward Stout Cask on my blog! And more distilleries in the Us are being opened or start making single malt whiskey. (Yes, with the extra 'e')
So, a group of American Distiller thought it was time to do something about it. Inform people and create standards at the same time. Making sure the category American Single Malt is recognised and protected.
The American Single Malt Commission
I can try to put it in my own words, but they tell it best on their own website:
"The American Single Malt Whiskey Commission (ASMWC) was formed in 2016 to address the growing need for American-based producers to define the category—both domestically and internationally—in order to protect, educate, promote and ultimately grow it."
With this in mind, the 9 founding members created a mission statement.
And at the same time took it upon themselves to create a list of criteria for the category ASMW (American Single Malt Whiskey)
Now most of the criteria might sound familiar if you're into whisky, but there are some differences as well:
Made from 100% Malted Barley
Distilled entirely at one distillery
Mashed, distilled and matured in the United States of America
Matured in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 liters
Distilled to no more than 160 (US) proof (80% vol)
Bottled at 80 (US) proof or more (40% vol.)
Now since some of the distilleries are in areas where the casks lose 6-8% to the Angels Share, there is no "3 years in casks" ruling. This is also something almost impossible to do, since the size of the US makes sure distilleries can be in completely different climate regions.
Also, in the US, a whisky aged for less than four years must have the specific age stated on the label. That age on the label must always be that of the youngest component.
Up until now, 89 distilleries in the US have joined the original Founding Members. That means that over 100 distilleries are working according to the standards, transparency and criteria of the ASMWC.
Just a quick sum-up of the founding members:
Balcones Distilling, Copperworks Distilling, FEW Spirits, Headframe Spirits, Santa Fe Spirits, Triple Eight Distillery, Virginia Distillery Co., Westland Distillery and Westward Distillery.
Now, I have been searching but not all distilleries ship to the EU or even outside the US. So If you're in the US, looke one of these up!
I normally post photos of my own making. However, I hd to forgo on that this time.
Since it seemed unfair to post only images of my Westward and Balcones review, I borrowed some images from the website of the ASMWC.
You can vist them at https://www.americansinglemaltwhiskey.org/