American Whiskey - Single Malt
Few Spirits Single Malt Whisky
Rating DescriptionTier 2
This is a Tier 2 score in the Whiskey category. It means critics have highly recommended the spirit as a benchmark in the category.
Few Single Malt whisky is made from a base of 100% barley (as suggested by the "single malt" in the title) so similar in style to what many would recognize as scotch or Irish whiskey. (Note the nod to scotch with their traditional spelling of "whisky" without the "ey.") Few uses a cherry wood smoked barley—a big departure from scotch that has the characteristic peat reek in their smoke—and will likely impart a sweeter, slightly smoky flavor. We're told "the smoke has a decided presence without being a smokey whisky." It is blended with "unsmoked" two row malted barley. We're told all of the whiskey is sourced from the Few Spirits distillery and aged in their own ex-bourbon and ex-rye whiskey casks. They suggest looking for cocoa and cappuccino flavor notes.
Few Spirits, founded by Paul Hletko, is an homage to the "timeless liquors of the past." It is based in Evanston, Illinois where they claim as the very birthplace of the (the late and unlamented) temperance movement... an article from the Chicago Reader cites dry rulings going all the way back to 1855. In fact, the FEW name is actually the initials of Frances Elizabeth Willard, who was the national president of the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement and figured largely in Prohibition (as well as the more laudable Women’s Suffrage). Thus, the name is a bit of an ironic joke. Should founder Paul Hletko and Frances Willard meet in heaven… well, that will be an interesting conversation. The spirits are batch distilled using American midwestern grain. Few Spirits says that when the first drop of liquor was made at their distillery it was the first legal drop of alcohol made in Evanston, IL.