Often the question surrounding American craft distillers is why: Why are you giving us yet another gin, vodka or immature whiskey? High Wire Distilling Co. repeatedly answers that query with novel spirits that speak to their South Carolina origins. Scott Blackwell and Ann Marshall’s newest revelation is a whiskey made entirely from a nearly extinct local variety of corn, Jimmy Red, that turns vibrantly crimson when ripe and offers a sweet and nutty taste. Milled on site before slow fermentation and pot distillation, the whiskey comes out clear, but retains a rich, honeyed nuttiness. It’s also precocious—after only two years, it tastes like a mature four year-old Bourbon and is even smoother at bottling, which will be over 80 proof. High Wire’s first release—just 456 bottles—sold out in minutes, but this November’s release is larger. And, with Anson Mills now planting the corn for the distillery, production will continue to rise next year.
High Wire Distilling Co., Charleston, SC
Jordan Mackay’s writing on wine, spirits and food has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Decanter, the Art of Eating and many other publications. While Secrets of the Sommeliers, the book he wrote with Rajat Parr, won a James Beard Award in 2011, it’s certain winemakers that he credits with some of his most important tasting lessons.
This story appears in the print issue of Winter 2017.
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