What Is Black Whiskey? A Review of Don Michael’s Andean Black Corn Whiskey

Have you ever heard of Black Whiskey? This unique spirit is creating waves in the whiskey world, especially since it comes from a place not traditionally known for whiskey production: Peru! Let’s dive into what makes Andean Black Corn Whiskey stand out, share some reviews, and guide you on where to buy it.

What is Black Whiskey?

Black Whiskey refers to a premium whiskey made from Andean black corn and other malted grains. This is a bourbon-style whiskey with a big flavor profile.

What Does It Taste Like?

Black Whiskey has a deep amber hue with aromas of oak and caramel. Its palate is distinctly woody, and adding water coaxes out vanilla and dusty cocoa powder, with clove and black pepper marking the finish. 

How to make tasting experience better

To enhance the tasting experience of Don Michael’s Andean Black Corn Whiskey, consider pairing it with complementary flavors. For those with a sweet tooth, the rich and robust character of this whiskey can be accentuated by pairing it with high-quality dark chocolate, creating a harmonious blend of indulgent flavors on the palate. Alternatively, for enthusiasts who prefer savory notes, pairing this whiskey with a fine cigar can elevate the experience to new heights. For instance, opting for a selection of Viva La Vida Cuban cigars can provide a delightful contrast to the whiskey’s profile, with the smoky aromas and earthy undertones enhancing the overall sensory journey. Whether sipping alone or enjoying the company of fellow connoisseurs, these pairings can elevate the enjoyment of Don Michael’s Andean Black Corn Whiskey to a truly memorable experience.

Who Makes Andean Black Corn Whiskey?

Don Michael is the distillery that produces this whiskey. The Black Whiskey brand itself is separate and has its own website.

Here at Don Michael we believe in using only the best. From our Andean Black Corn and malted grains to our American white oak barrels we use the best of the best to provide the world with excellence.” – Don Michael

How Is Their Black Whiskey Made?

Making Black Whiskey at Don Michael Distillery is an art that combines traditional techniques with the rich agricultural heritage of the Andes. At the heart of this process is the distillery’s commitment to using only the finest ingredients and methods to craft a bourbon-style whiskey that’s truly one-of-a-kind.

Sourcing the Best Black Corn & Malted Grains

Don Michael prides itself on sourcing the highest quality Andean Black Corn and malted grains, imported from the USA. This commitment to excellence starts with a special variety of Black Corn, known as INIA 601, which thrives at altitudes above 10,000 feet in the Peruvian Andes. This corn is not only unique to the region but also organically certified, ensuring that every bottle of Black Whiskey begins with the best possible foundation.

The distillery collaborates with engineer Alicia Medina in Cajamarca to source the corn from farmers dedicated to environmentally respectful and organic practices. This partnership ensures that the corn used in Black Whiskey is not only of the highest quality but also sustainably grown.

Pure Water from the Andes

Water is crucial in whiskey production, and Don Michael has a unique advantage. The distillery uses water from the Lurin aquifer, which is fed by the Andes Mountains and runs directly beneath the distillery. This pure, soft water is essential in creating the smooth and distinctive flavor profile of Black Whiskey.

American White Oak Barrels

The choice of barrels is key to the whiskey’s maturation process. Don Michael exclusively uses new American white oak barrels for aging their whiskey. This choice reflects the distillery’s bourbon-style approach, contributing to the whiskey’s rich, complex flavors and golden amber color. The use of new barrels, a practice common in bourbon production, ensures that each batch of Black Whiskey has a consistent and high-quality flavor profile.

Black Whiskey Reviews:

Reviewers have noted that while Black Whiskey maintains its consistency and stability, adding ice can make it easier to sip without taking away from its full flavor, making it accessible even to those who don’t normally drink whiskey straight (LivinginPeru.com).

Awards Black Whiskey Has Won in the Past Few Years:

This information was found on LivinginPeru.com

  • ADI: Certificate as artisanal distillate, Silver Medal category ‘Whiskey’ and Gold Medal ‘Best of its class.
  • San Francisco World Spirits Competition: Silver medal 2021 and Bronze medal 2020 category ‘Whiskey’.
  • Micro Spirits Competition: Triple gold medal in the ‘Whiskey’ category and Triple gold medal in the ‘Packaging’ category.
  • LA Spirits Competition: Silver Medal – Whiskey.
  • Bartenders Spirits Competition: Double Gold Medal – Whiskey.
  • USA Spirits Ratings: Gold Medal – Whiskey
  • San Diego: Double Gold Medal – Whiskey
  • NY Spirits: Bronze Medal – Whiskey

Black Whiskey Critic Review: Tastings.com

Tastings.com awarded the Don Michael Andean Black Corn Whiskey an impressive 91 points, earning it a Gold Medal and the title of 2022 Best Corn Whiskey

The review highlights the whiskey’s complex nature, with a copper color and rich aromas and flavors. They suggest enjoying it in cocktails, neat, or on the rocks, and highlight its suitability for a Whiskey Sour or Whiskey Smash​​.

Black Whiskey Critic Review: The Whiskey Wash

The Whiskey Wash provides a detailed review of Don Michael Black Whiskey, highlighting its unique characteristics and overall quality. This review emphasizes the whiskey’s distinct profile, a result of its innovative production process and the use of Andean Black Corn.

Tasting Notes and Impressions

Nose: The review points out the whiskey’s blend of traditional bourbon scents with a hint of unique graininess attributed to the Andean Black Corn.

Palate: The palate of Don Michael Black Whiskey has rich and complex flavors that balance sweetness with the earthy tones of the Andean grains. The review highlights the flavors of vanilla, caramel, and a subtle smokiness.

Finish: The finish is described as long and silky, leaving a lasting impression.

Black Whiskey Consumer Reviews

There aren’t many online consumer reviews, but from the information available, the Black Whiskey is certainly a good find. One buyer said “my experience was only memorable” and that they “highly recommend this.” Another says “by the time I finished [the glass] I was very happy with my purchase.” An online reviewer from DRAM1 mentions that the whiskey is “reminiscent of the Balcones Brimstone…” which has “an acquired taste.”

Don Michael’s approach has not only led to the creation of an exceptional whiskey but also to the recognition of “Andean Whiskey” as a distinct category by the Peruvian government, akin to “Japanese Whiskey.”

Single Barrel Variation: Differences & Overall Review

Don Michael also has a single barrel, non-chill filtered version of this whiskey. At 112 proof, it’s definitely stronger, and that carries into the flavor profile. Consumers seem divided on this one: one reviewer mentioned that it “stands out from the rest,” while another didn’t like the “bitter taste” from the black corn.

Single Barrel Black Whiskey Profile:

Nose: Waxy and leather notes, accompanied by tropical fruit on the nose.

Appearance: Spicy and sweet on the palate, with tropical fruit notes. Slightly herbal, with spicy cinnamon and a touch of clove on a long, smooth finish.

Palate: The palate leans into the earthiness with a hint of burnt cinnamon bark next to old vanilla pods, hard raisins, dried figs, and cornmeal mixed with sweet black potting soil and wrapped in a rum-raisin tobacco leaf.

Source: Passion Spirits

Where to Buy Black Whiskey: Andean Black Corn Whiskey

For those looking to try Black Whiskey, it’s available in some of the best restaurants in Peru, such as Pescados Capitales, Maido, and El Mercado, among others. You’ll also find bottles in tourist locations for purchase to bring home. You can also buy bottles directly from the distillery’s website or from select retailers.

Final Thoughts:

Black Whiskey is a testament to innovation in the whiskey world, bringing together ancient Andean corn brewing techniques and modern distillation processes to create something truly unique, a characteristic that runs through to the nose, taste, and finish.

Its origin story, from the elevation at which its main ingredient grows to the passion of its creators, adds depth to its character, making it a must-try for whiskey enthusiasts. Whether you’re sipping it neat, with water, or on the ice, Black Whiskey offers a novel experience that speaks to the rich agricultural heritage and innovative spirit of Peru.

Distillery Nearby: Find More Whiskey Gems Like Black Whiskey on our Distillery Directory!

Did this one “whet your whistle?” Don Michael Black Whiskey is just the beginning. Your next favorite whiskey awaits, and it’s easier to find than you might think!

Visit our online distillery directory today to explore a curated selection of exceptional whiskeys. Don’t just read about the next big thing in whiskey—experience it for yourself!

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