UPDATE! I received an unsolicited press release with sample offer from the company. Apparently they’re aware enough of my site to know that I review whiskeys … but not aware enough to know I’d already reviewed theirs.
Here’s finally some information. (I use the word ‘information’ loosely.)
Priced at $24-$26.99 for 750 ml bottles, Cask & Crew’s Batch 1 is currently sold in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Connecticut, Maryland and Kentucky, and will be available in 12 states by spring. With brisk sales, Batch 1’s 22,500 bottles (7500 per flavor) are expected to sell out by March and LiDestri is gearing up production for Batch 2.
“Brown flavored spirits are really having a moment,” LiDestri Spirits Vice President Joe Ragazzo said. “We wanted to create something that was complex enough to appeal to whiskey aficionados, yet inviting enough to be an intriguing experience for people exploring whiskey for the first time.”
The name “Cask & Crew” is homage to the new American oak casks (charred for the rye and raw for the corn whiskey) that were carefully selected to make the two whiskeys, and the adventurous crew of folks who brought the brand to life,” Ragazzo noted. Before selecting these two whiskeys, LiDestri Spirits’ innovation team—a group of knowledgeable whiskey connoisseurs and enthusiastic novices—crossed state and international boundaries to find the best options possible.
“We sampled a wide range of fine whiskeys from some of our renowned distillery partners in North America, and went through dozens of iterations using a wide range of whiskeys to achieve the final blend,” Ragazzo added.
It’s nice that they recognize the rise of premium brown spirits and authentic craft cocktails. It’s just too bad their products are neither.
Reviewed as part of my participation on Distiller.com‘s Tasting Table.
I don’t know much about Cask & Crew. There’s no website (yet) and no social media that I can find. Sku reports that the label is produced by Dundee Foods/Lidestri Spirits, Rochester, NY. The whole line won Silver at the 2016 New York World Wine & Spirits Competition.
A promotional sheet they included with the samples described the base whiskey as 51% 3-year old Canadian rye aged in new charred American oak barrels blended with 49% 3-year old Kentucky corn mash also aged in new charred American oak. Presented at 80 proof; batch 1 yielded about 1,500 bottles.
And that’s all I’ve got. Your guess is as good as mine.
Cask & Crew Rye Whiskey Blend
Color: Amber, slightly cloudy. (Maybe it’s unfiltered? Most likely caramel color added.)
Nose: Minimal, alcohol forward, slightly earthy and grainy.
Palate: Rough, leathery and bitter. Distinct notes of grains/malt, vanilla, toasted oak and tea leaf. Very slight fruit including banana and green apple.
Finish: Short and bitter. No heat and minimal burn. Flavors of corn, vanilla and toasted oak.
Verdict: It’s drinkable. Probably best used as a cocktail base.
Oh, look! They’ve made it into a cocktail for you. Two, in fact.
Cask & Crew Walnut Toffee Whiskey (35% a.b.v.)
Sweet. (Duh, it’s a liqueur) Toffee, brûlée, caramel, burnt sugar – call it what you will, that flavor is there. Maybe there’s a walnut there? It could just be power of suggestion from the name. Also drinkable, but so sweet and fake-y that it wouldn’t be enjoyable except over ice and maybe with ginger ale. [From Hilary: it’s flavored with artificial flavoring syrup for coffee. Take your whiskey to Starbucks and you could make this flavor profile.]
Cask & Crew Ginger Spice Whiskey (35% a.b.v.)
Okay, that has real ginger in it! Smells like Vernor’s … but with something artificial underneath. Mixed with sparkling water it would make a good spiked ginger ale. I’m not sure what the ‘spice’ flavors are supposed to be.