ST GEORGE BALLER JAPANESE WHISKY AGED 3 YEARS ~ CALIFORNIA, USA
Jeffery Lindenmuth - Whisky Advocate "Hugely floral and perfumed on the nose, with rose petals, violet candies, and dried orange peel. This is the Gewürztraminer of American single malts—sweet lychee, laced with sachet aromas that explode as if opening Grandma’s dresser drawer. The palate is more tropical; dried pineapple, canned peach syrup, and spice. This could be polarizing, but it’s utterly captivating and worth a try."
Bloomberg "Over-the-top delicious."
PUNCH "Perhaps America's most unique single malt. Immensely drinkable"
Supercall "This might be the best new spirit of the year, period."
Imbibe "Perfect sipped neat or on a rock or two... an intense crispness and ferocious burst of plum on the front, followed by a warm, slate-like dryness and lingering smokiness."
The Whiskey Wash "An absolute pleasure… exactly the kind of whisk(e)y that I love and that keeps me in love with whisk(e)y."
Liquor.com "A bold, dry whiskey with subtle plum and smoky notes ideal for Japanese highballs and Scotch-style cocktails."
The Daily Beast "A meta whiskey, if there ever was one. While it has more than enough complexity to be sipped, it was made to be mixed in highballs and other cocktails."
Spirited "One of the most visionary whiskeys on the market."
Whisky Advocate "A California take on Japanese whisky from one of the country’s oldest and most prestigious craft distillers, with a stunning label to match."
Baller Single Malt from St. George Spirits over in California has seen a wonderfully unique maturation. The whiskey is initially aged in used bourbon and French oak wine casks and is filtered through maple charcoal. Following that, it's finished in casks that which previously held house-made umeshu, a Japanese-style plum liqueur that the folks at St. George made entirely from California-grown ume fruit. Baller is named for its popular Japanese-style Highball drinks, hence the label artwork, so definitely give it a go in the eponymous serve.
Nose - Fresh citrus, with grapefruit peel and some white grape wine-y notes in there too, apple skin and dried mango.
Palate - Some damp oak and rich malty notes, supported by more mango, syrupy tropical fruit and sugared grapes.
Finish - Gala apples and boiled apple sweeties too.
St. George Spirits is an American craft distillery in Alameda, California that has been producing spirits for the last 35 years. Founded by Jörg Rupf, it was the first small distillery to open after the collapse of Prohibition. Jörg was eventually joined by Lance Winters, a former nuclear scientist and brewer and they worked together distilling spirits for the next 20 years. In 2010, Jörg retired from 28 years of service as a master distiller at the company.
The spirits the company currently continues to make include single malt whiskey, Agricole rum, Absinthe, gin, vodka (including flavored versions), apple brandy and liqueurs. St. George Absinthe Verte, which debuted in 2007, was the first legal Absinthe made in the USA since it was banned in 2007. Queues formed at the distillery and all bottles sold out in four hours.