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Wayward Single Malt Whiskey

Amber liquid in at tall glass bottle with a black wax top and white and green label

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Wayward Single Malt Whiskey


Wayward Single Malt Whiskey

Since my home state of California isn’t typically known as a major whiskey producer, I always get excited when I come across a new California based distillery like Venus Spirits. And, it’s even better when it’s not too far from where I currently live! And, although they offer a wide variety of spirits, I was most excited to try this bottle of Wayward Single Malt Whiskey.

After many years in the beer and organic food industries, Sean Venus was inspired to build Venus Spirits after falling in love with whiskey. The distillery first opened in in Santa Cruz, California in 2015 and offers many spirits that include gin, agave-based spirits, aquavit, and whiskey.

Wayward is their line of whiskies, and features a bourbon, rye, and single malt whiskey. Although Wayward Single Malt takes some inspiration from Scotch, the production process differs by aging the whiskey in new charred oak casks.

Bottle Specs

❖ Spirit: American Single Malt Whiskey

Distillery: Venus Spirits

❖ ABV: 46% (92 Proof)

❖ Aged 3 Years

❖ High/Moderate Price

Tasting Notes


Color: Amber

❖ Nose: Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cherry, Spearmint, Malt, I haven’t tried a higher proof spirit in a while so the alcohol burn was a bit intense.

Taste: spice, mint, fruit, cherry, oak. Bit of burn but not too overwhelming.

Finish: Long, Vanilla, Cinnamon

amber liquid in a glencairn glass


Golden liquid with a white foam top with orange angostura bitters as garnish in a coup glass

Whiskey Sour

2 oz Whiskey

3/4 oz Lemon Juice

3/4 oz Simple Syrup

1 Egg White

❖ Add whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white to a shaker, and let sit for 10 seconds

❖ Dry shake for 30 seconds to emulsify

❖ Add a large rock of ice, and shake until chilled

❖ Strain into a glass, and garnish with drops of angostura bitters

The Whiskey Sour was the classic cocktail I was most nervous to make, simply because egg white sort of freaks me out. But, it’s one of the most visually appealing cocktails of all time, so I knew I wouldn’t be able to avoid it forever. There’s a wide range of recipes, but my favorite is from an old Educated Barfly Video. I provided a summary of the the steps to make this cocktail, but the video goes into much greater detail and provides some great tips.

Lemon juice and whiskey is a classic combination for a good reason, but the addition of egg white really elevates the cocktail. It doesn’t contribute any additional flavor, but gives the drink a rich and silky texture. The fruit and grain notes from Wayward Single Malt stand out the most, but there’s still plenty of tartness from the lemon juice. I’ve seen many different garnishes for a Whiskey Sour, but I prefer the simplicity of the Angostura bitters drops. And, the herbal notes went well with the spice from the whiskey, too.

Bottom Line


Despite a few minor issues, I was still generally impressed with Wayward Single Malt Whiskey. While I don’t typically like when a spirit has a drastically different smell and taste, and I do wish there was a bit more continuity, I think it worked in this case, because of the influence of Scotch and Bourbon traditions. The malted grain produced a lovely blend of chocolate, fruit, and grain notes while the new charred oak casks contributed more traditional bourbon notes of wood, vanilla, and cherry. And, although it was a bit on the aggressive side, I also enjoyed the heat from the higher proof.

I was also a bit conflicted on the price. The upper-moderate to lower-high price range is pretty competitive, so there could potentially be better values out there. However, not only is Wayward Single Malt a solid experience on its own, it also works well in cocktails. The fruit, vanilla, and grain flavors stand out in the cocktails I’ve tried, and the extra proof helps add some extra body. After experiencing the quality of the Wayward Single Malt Whiskey, I’m excited to try more from Venus Spirits.

As always, drink responsibly.

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