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Redwood Empire Pipe Dream

brown liquid in a tall bottle with a white label with red logo

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Redwood Empire Pipe Dream

JOSH'S RATING:
3/5

About Redwood Empire Pipe Dream

Whiskey production in California has been steadily growing in recent years, so now there’s plenty of options when I’m looking for something new. But, one brand I’ve consistently seen for the past few years is Redwood Empire. And, while they offer a few different whiskies, Redwood Empire Pipe Dream Bourbon seems like a great place to start.

Redwood Empire Distillery, based in Sonoma County, California, draws inspiration from the natural beauty of Northern California. Each of their whiskies is named after a famous redwood tree, and features artwork inspired by the renowned conservationist John Muir. This bourbon is named for Pipe Dream, the 14th tallest tree in the world, and is located in Humboldt Redwood State Park.

Redwood Empire Pipe Dream is a blend of whiskies both distilled in-house, and sourced from distilleries in Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. The ages of these whiskies are 3 to 12 years, and the mash bill is of 75% corn, 21% raw rye, and 4% malt barley.

Bottle Specs

❖ Spirit: Bourbon Whiskey

Distillery: Distilled in California, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. Bottled by Redwood Empire Distilling

❖ ABV: 45% (90 proof)

❖ Blend of whiskies aged 4-12 years

❖ Moderate Price

Tasting Notes

 

Color: Gold

❖ Nose: Cherry, Vanilla, Caramel, Maple

Taste: Thin mouthfeel, Spice, Mint, Maple, Oak, Bit of a tingle of the tongue

Finish: Pepper, Oak, Vanilla

Gold liquid in a glencairn glass

Cocktail

Golden brown liquid in a rocks glass filled with crushed ice with a mint sprig garnish

Julep Dream

2 oz Whiskey

1/2 oz Maple Syrup

1/4 oz Lemon Juice

6 mint leaves

❖ Muddle all ingredients in a glass, then add crushed ice

❖ Stir to combine, and top with a splash of seltzer

Since Redwood Empire Pipe Dream has strong maple and mint notes, I was thinking about possible cocktails that use both these ingredients. Luckily, Redwood Empire was already one step ahead and already had a recipe for a Julep Dream.

And, all the flavors balance together perfectly. As expected, the mint and maple are the focal point, but there are some faint oak notes. The lemon is a bit difficult to distinguish, but it serves its purpose as a counterbalance to the sweetness of the maple syrup. While a splash of seltzer smooths everything out, and prevents the whiskey from being too strong, I personally think the cocktail still works well without it. In fact, I might even prefer it without the seltzer to feel the alcohol, so I don’t drink too many.

Bottom Line

JOSH'S RATING
3/5

Although Redwood Empire Pipe Dream is a solid bourbon, it doesn’t do enough to stand out from others in the crowded market. The flavor is well-balanced, and I enjoy the strong maple and mint notes, as well as the combination of spice and oak on the finish. However, the mouthfeel was too thin, and diminished the impact of the overall flavor. And, while these qualities can make Pipe Dream a good option for cocktails, It’s priced slightly too high to compete with other mixing bourbons.

Although I have mixed feelings about Pipe Dream, I’m still interested in trying more whiskies from Redwood Empire. By sourcing the whiskies from other distilleries, they have more control over the flavor, and I feel I have a good idea of their ideal flavor profile. I would love to someday try one their whiskies that’s made entirely in house. I also love the Northern California forest design aesthetic, and their pledge to plant a tree for every bottle sold. I’ve definitely looked into details about visiting Pipe Dream, so they are doing something right.

As always, drink responsibly.

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