I have been wanting to stop in Catoctin Creek for a while now, and during our Purcellville brewery run, we made it to the area after the tasting room was closed. I happened to be out in the area again, this time earlier in the day, so I made sure I stopped in. My son is about to turn one, and I had heard some dads have gotten their sons a bottle of whiskey to age till they are of age. I thought this was a nice touch. I hadn’t had Catoctin Creek, but figured since they are local, it would be pretty cool. There are more local whiskey distilleries, but they don’t have any whiskey at the moment.
Right in the middle of downtown Purcellville, sits the one story building. It looks like a old shop or warehouse space. There is plenty of parking on the side, so no worries about street parking. If for some reason it is packed, there is additional public parking garages in the downtown area. The building is split, with the distillery on one side, and tasting room/shop on the other. The bar in the tasting room is set up in the center of the space, so that there is access from three sides. Along the sides of the space are retail items for sale, everything from glasses and shirts, to local food and whiskey related items. The wall that is shared has a lot of windows and large doors providing visual access to the distilling process and the beautiful Kothe Stills inside. During my visit, Becky was busy at her desk while staff was cleaning up. I had to wait a little bit, as a perspective distillery owner was hitting up the bartender to get some insight or speak with the owners.
I’m not a big liquor person, I love my beer. But taking the time to taste the beer has helped me take the time to investigate tasting other liquids and foods. So I may not know what to expect, but I do know how to examine what I’m able to sip. I love the sampling process, so I of course ordered the flight. I ordered the standard flight, which is a small sampling of all three of their spirits straight. They have other flights which are cocktails and paired tastings.
I started off with the Mosby’s Spirit, which is their 80 proof white whiskey and named after John Mosby a civil war and local hero. Some refer to it as a legal moonshine. It skips the aging process. My initial sip had a bit of that burn to it. One of the reasons why I’m not a big liquor fan. The next sips calmed down somewhat. I did get a sense of some of the citrus and floral that was promised, but was still sucking wind. I could see this mixed into a cocktail, rather than drinking it straight.
If you aged the Mosby’s Spirit, the result would be an 80 proof Roundstone Rye. The aging definitely mellowed down the heat for me. The wood smoothed it out and added a sweet, caramel edge to it. I could see myself sipping this on a regular basis. This is one of those whiskeys that definitely makes me want to sample more. Since I was there looking for a bottle to age, the bartender was nice enough to let me try the higher proof Roundstone 92, which as the name suggests has 92 proof. Sometimes upping the alcohol diminishes the flavor (at least it can in the beer world), but the additional alcohol seemed to only intensify the flavors previously noted and increased the smoothness.
The last sample in the flight was Watershed Gin. I may not be a big liquor drinking, but I know I’m not a fan of the pine needles I have found commonly with Gin. After a quick sniff, my nose crinkled with that familiar scent, here we go again. Not sure if they used less juniper, but I got more cinnamon and spice notes than anything else. Guess this breaks that Gin stereotype for me, and I’ll have to be more open in the future.
At the end, I picked up the Roundstone Rye Cask. It was recommended to hold the flavor longer, since I’m looking at keeping it in the cellar for the next 20 years. I didn’t get a sample of this, but it’s supposed to be a kick in the pants, especially at 116 proof. Guess one of my sons first sips of good whisky will be an eye opener. A shame that we have to wait this long to enjoy it.
Purcellville continues to have a brewery boom, so if you are in the area sampling beers, definitely stop in at Catoctin Creek. Since I missed it the first time I came through the area, I was thrilled to be able to make another visit. It may have been a little lonely, but great none the less.
Visited on 08.06.2015
Catoctin Creek Distillery
120 W Main Street
Purcellville, VA 20132