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New Washington bourbon, rye whiskey make you think of elks

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One state with an ever increasing number of craft distilleries is Washington. Of these, Heritage Distilling out of Gig Harbor is a leader in the pack of micro distilled whiskey choices. The distillery recently released a new rye and bourbon that are both young at under two years of age but look to hold tasty promise.

These two new whiskies fall under the distillery's Elk Rider label, which celebrates one of the founder's ancestors who settled in rural Washington for a time and, among other frontier activities, broke and tamed wild elk. It is also apparently represented by a rather large Roosevelt Elk rack that hangs in the distillery as well.

The Elk Rider Rye, aged in new American oak charred barrels, is made from a 95% rye/5% malted barley mash and comes in at 92 proof. Tasting notes for it indicate, on the pallet, notes of orange, clove, honey and pepper that end with a finish of classic rye that's balanced between pepper and spice.

The bourbon, meanwhile, is known as Elk Rider Bourbon. It is a 65% corn/30% rye/5% malted barley mash aged in the same barrel types as the rye. Information from Heritage indicates this whiskey to have notes of honey, caramel, walnut, plantain, oak and berries.

Heritage Distilling tends to make use of raw ingredients it sources from small local farms for its spirits. This includes corn, wheat and other grains. These products are milled, the wort is mashed and distilling is done all on site. The still itself is of Italian construction.

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