Exercise extreme caution when sipping
Drinking whiskey is supposed to be about pleasure, not pain, right? Well, one person’s punishment is perfection for another, because a new extremely high-ABV release from Frey Ranch sold out in a flash last weekend.
Frey Ranch is a Nevada distillery that truly makes “ground-to-glass” whiskey, with 100 per cent of the grains grown on-site. Husband and wife team Colby and Ashley Frey co-founded the distillery, which has been releasing its own bourbon and rye over the past few years (no sourced products), and the quality has been unequivocally excellent. In addition to the core line-up, there is a single barrel series that Colby and his team personally select and bottle at barrel proof, which can range upwards of 130 (or 65 per cent ABV). But recently a barrel was unearthed which was labelled Hazmat Single Barrel due to its extreme alcohol content—140.18 proof, or more than 70 per cent ABV, to be exact. That’s strong enough to make puppies cry and melt your fillings, if you’re looking for a completely unscientific reference point.
People lined up at the distillery to get their hands on one of 126 bottles last weekend and the whiskey promptly sold out, so it appears there are plenty of bourbon fans who are looking for a spirit this beefy. The distillery called it a “delicious firecracker” and noted that it’s the highest proof whiskey it’s ever released, with notes of orange peel and oak and a rich mahogany colour.
There have been several high-octane whiskey releases in recent years, each surpassing the next in alcohol strength. While this can start to feel like a whiskey pissing contest at times, people seem to just kind of love trying uncut, unfiltered, jet-fuel whiskey. For example, Jack Daniel’s released its highest proof whiskey to date last summer, which beat this Frey Ranch release by about ten proof points—it was so strong, in fact, that it had to have a special cork to keep the vapours from popping it open. And Brooklyn’s Kings County Distillery has released its own hazmat bourbon, with one bottle approaching 180 proof which seems like an accident waiting to happen.
While you might not be able to try Frey Ranch’s Hazmat Single Barrel unless you are friends with someone who purchased a bottle at the distillery last weekend (or you see one being flipped on the secondary market), the distillery’s core line-up is available to purchase online. While you might not be able to use this whiskey to strip paint, it’s still pretty tasty.
This article was first published on Robb Report USA