Handen Distillery: New Spirits in a Land of Wine and Cheese

This past weekend, I partook in an annual favorite in Wisconsin: the Cedarburg Wine and Cheese festival. For those that are uninitiated, it is a street festival of goliath proportions, hosted by a scenic town just north of Milwaukee: Cedarburg, WI. 

The usual docket of activities we look forward to usually involves craft beer, a huge variety of street and local restaurant food, and tons of wine from a local producer, Cedar Creek Winery. While the winery has been around for decades, a new face showed up at last years festival.

Handen distillery had a snappy sign up to entice festival goers, but was closed. Nothing more than an empty building with a suave sign out front. To say the least, I was disappointed. This year, however, was a different story.

Their bar looks clean, and fits the city theme

While still not officially open to the public, Handen distillery had a pop up open specifically for the festival. I had no idea this would be happening, so I was pretty surprised, and also pleased, because that meant that they would be sampling their blended whiskey.

Coincidentally, I wanted to know more information. Was this sourced? Was this in house distillate? Unfortunately, their staff doing tastings were just event staff. Furthermore, their website is less than useful since it is a landing page. Since I was in the vicinity, though, I decided to take them up on a sample of their blended whiskey. I coughed up a couple bucks for my sample ticket, and hopped into the fray. Here are my notes for their aged blended whiskey:

Taking the plunge

Nose: Almond, cinnamon, rubbing alcohol, apple cider.

Taste: Thin, sweet, hot. Red hots, almond, baking spices and light oak.

Finish: Malty,  sweet almond / amaretto, although hot​.

Overall: It shows promise. The disgusting malty cardboard notes evident in most young distillates is missing in action and the cinnamon and baking spice notes are interesting. 

Rank: 3/10

If you recently read through my craft whiskey crackdown then this score isn’t super alarming. Is it great? Definitely not. But compared to a huge majority of other, in house distilled, craft releases, it actually performs alright. It’s definitely young, but in a couple of years, I think it might be alright.

They have some nice looking stills.

Thanks for reading! Handen is set to open to the public this Fall. There are rumblings that this may or may not happen, but you can bet that once they open, I will take another trip over to check out the rest of what they have to offer!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.