One Eight Distilling has already produced a vodka and a white whiskey, and a gin is coming this June. But it won't take years before the Ivy City distillery releases a brown liquor.
Founders Alexander "Sandy" Wood and Alex Laufer obtained 36 barrels of 9-year-old rye bourbon from the MGP (formerly Seagram) distillery in Indiana and have been aging some of it in 30-year-old Oloroso sherry casks from Spain for more than three months. They'll release the sherry-finished bourbon, which is called Untitled No. 1, on May 16—the faux-holiday of World Whisky Day. The distillery will host tours and tastings plus food from Pepe, José Andrés’ food truck from 1 to 4 p.m.. Then from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., the release festivities will continue at Derek Brown's sherry bar Mockingbird Hill and his whiskey bar Southern Efficiency with cocktails and flights featuring the spirit.
Untitled No. 1 is the first in a series of more experimental limited-edition spirits that the distillery will release every three to four months. Untitled No. 2 will be a Tennessee sour mash whiskey also aged in a sherry cask. One Eight sent some of its emptied bourbon barrels to DC Brau, which is using them to age its Penn Quarter Porter and Wings of Armageddon. The barrels will eventually come back to the distillery, so they can produce a beer-finished product. Wood and Laufer are also loaning some barrels to Vigilante Coffee to age coffee beans and will then use the them for a coffee-finished spirit.
"We'll probably do it for quite a few years," Wood says of the Untitled series. "It will just allow us to do experimental stuff on the side and not worry about building a brand around whatever it is." If any of the experiments are especially successful, they could eventually end up as part of One Eight's permanent repertoire.
In the meantime, One Eight will sell Untitled No. 1 at the distillery. Anywhere from 60 to 120 standard 750-mL bottles will be available for $70, and at least 500 smaller flask-sized bottles will cost $22. You'll also be able to find the product at Mockingbird Hill and Southern Efficiency until the supply runs out.
Photos by Jessica Sidman