Redwood Empire Whiskey Taste Test: Jay Cutler, Brandon Try 3 Bottles from the Northern California Coast

by Chris Haney

Jay Cutler and Brandon Chesbro return for another Whiskey Taste Test, and they’re continuing the trend of drinking spirits from out West. Last week, the guys tested out three bottles from High West, which is distilled in Park City, Utah. Today, they’re figuratively heading further west to Sonoma County, California as they taste three bottles distilled by Redwood Empire.

As soon as Brandon breaks out the three bottles of Redwood Empire, the guys couldn’t get enough of the bottle art. We’ve got Redwood’s Pipe Dream Bourbon Whiskey, Emerald Giant Rye Whiskey, and Lost Monarch Blend of Straight Whiskeys to test. But the packaging on each stood out with their different colored sketch art labels.

“We’re continuing the trend on going West. Now we’re going West Coast,” Brandon said to Jay. “Incredible art, right? Like super cool.”

“It’s so good,” Jay agreed about the packaging.

“They’ve got a bourbon, a rye, and then this is their blend, which this is the ticker right here,” Brandon said, introducing the three drinks. “37 bucks, for all three. Not for all three together. Each.”

Once again, we’re serving quality whiskey that won’t break the bank. You don’t always have to spend a ton to drink a good spirit. So let’s crack them open and give ’em a try.

Redwood Empire Pipe Dream Bourbon Whiskey

  • Nose: Powerful nose with sweet maple, vanilla, and a hint of honey
  • Palate: Rich, deep and complex with roasted pecan, vanilla, and lingering char and woody notes
  • Finish: Smooth with a hint of black pepper on the finish
  • Mash Bill: 75% Corn, 21% Raw Rye, 4% Malt Barley
  • Age: A blend of 4 to 12-year-old barrels
  • Proof: 90 Proof, or 45% Alcohol by Volume
  • MSRP: $37

The guys start out their taste test with Redwood Empire’s Pipe Dream Bourbon Whiskey. According to the distillery’s official website, Pipe Dream is “smooth and complex” and they call it “a true sipping whiskey.” Here’s what Jay and Brandon have to say about the bourbon.

“It’s good,” Brandon said of the Pipe Dream Bourbon. “Not like the most flavor explosion bourbon I’ve ever had. Like cinnamon, spicy, fruity.”

“It’s really good,” Jay agreed. “It’s smooth. I mean, 37 bucks? I’m a fan.”

Redwood Empire Emerald Giant Rye Whiskey

  • Nose: Natural rye aroma followed by a mix of brown sugar and cinnamon with a faint hint of pepper
  • Palate: Unparalleled spice complexity with smooth rye notes
  • Finish: A hint of honey and orange peel becomes peppery with a lingering cinnamon finish
  • Mash Bill: 95% Rye, 5% Malt Barley
  • Age: A blend of 3 to 5-year-old barrels
  • Proof: 90 Proof, or 45% Alcohol by Volume
  • MSRP: $37

Redwood Empire’s Emerald Giant Rye is named after the fastest growing redwood tree in the world. The distillery ages its premium rye for over three years in new charred oak barrels. That’s what gives it a spicy yet smooth finish and makes it a great option for some of your favorite whiskey cocktail classics.

“I wasn’t a big rye fan. But since we’ve been doing this, ryes are kinda my jam now,” Jay said as he approved of the Emerald Giant.

“You’re coming over to the rye side, huh?” Brandon responded.

After trying more great whiskey ryes like Emerald Giant, Jay has become a believer. But we’ve still got one more left to try from Redwood Empire.

Redwood Empire Lost Monarch Blend of Straight Whiskeys

  • Nose: Complex, with clove, cinnamon, vanilla, orange citrus zest and butterscotch notes, and an intriguing hint of sandalwood
  • Palate: Sweetness from corn and spiciness from rye combine with an almost maple syrup like flavor
  • Finish: Vanilla and caramel notes lead to a persistent, yet subdued peppery finish
  • Blend: 60% Rye Whiskey (95% Rye, 5% malted Barley), 40% Bourbon Whiskey (75% Corn, 21% raw Rye, 4% malted Barley)
  • Age: A blend of 4 to 12-year-old Bourbon & 3 to 5-year-old Rye Whiskey
  • Proof: 90 Proof, or 45% Alcohol by Volume
  • MSRP: $37

The guys jump right into the third and final bottle, which Brandon has tried before. He was excited to have Jay try their blended whiskey and the drink didn’t disappoint.

“Lost Monarch, this is my favorite,” Brandon shared. “Of course, I haven’t had those other two, big fan [of both].”

“This is your jam?” Jay asked Brandon before sipping it.

“This is my jam,” Brandon confirmed about the Lost Monarch. “Caramel, spice.”

“But it doesn’t burn. That stuff’s really good,” Jay added. “Yea, usually not a California fan in general, but…”

“Hey, to California and Redwood Empire,” Brandon said as he raised his glass.

“Well, not to California, but to Redwood Empire,” Jay amusingly joked as they raised a toast to the distillery.