Frey Ranch Estate Distillery’s Straight Bourbon Whiskey may be aged four years, but the finished product was actually 165 years in the making.
Five generations of the Frey family have farmed and managed the 2,000-acre Sierra Nevada ranch that produces the heirloom grains—non-GMO corn, winter cereal rye, winter wheat and two-row barley—that compose the bourbon’s mash bill, slow grown in fields fed by the Lake Tahoe Watershed. Current owner Colby Frey grew up on the property, getting to know the land through hands-on exploration at a young age. Frey Ranch Estate Distillery opened in 2006.
These days, Frey and his wife, Ashley, celebrate their crop with a pour of 90 proof bourbon heady with vanilla, caramel, spicy cinnamon, honey, and orange notes. The blend drinks well neat and shines in a Ranch Hand cocktail mixed with fresh lemon juice, honey syrup and bitters.
At first blush, Nevada may seem a somewhat unconventional location for bourbon production, but by relying on a non-chill filtering process, Frey manages to preserve the historic distilling traditions birthed thousands of miles east in Kentucky. Growing his own grains, distilling in a custom still, and aging and bottling on-site allow for stringent quality control and surround the entire process with a full-circle sense of legacy. The Straight Bourbon is Frey’s first whiskey release, complementing a portfolio that also includes vodka, gin, a barrel-finished gin, and a Reserve absinthe.
Also good news: The company is now shipping the product, here.