On Monday night we were guests of Batch 206 in Interbay as owners Jeff Steichen and Daleen Esterhuizen gave us a behind the scenes tour of their distillery. We loved the urban feel of their space and had a great time sampling their spirits.
Jeff says he’s spent most of his life in liquor related businesses, most recently running the Showbox music venues for over 20 years before selling and opening Batch 206 in March of 2012. When they opened they started with clear spirits: gins, vodkas, and moonshines.
The first whiskey we tasted was a moonshine. Jeff acknowledges they took a risk making a moonshine that excluded rye grain. With a mashbill of 51% corn and 49% two row barley it was smooth and soft. It was one of the more intriguing moonshines we’ve tasted and I’d be interested in trying this in cocktails.
Later in the evening we tasted the same whiskey after it had spent 22-24 months in oak barrels. The sampling was cask strength and came in at about 124 proof. The color was a beautiful, dark amber. The smell was heavy on the barley and the taste was rich and sweet with not as much burn as I’d expect from something of such a high proof. After adding water it became even smoother with strong notes of cherry.
Because their clear spirits are doing so well they’re not under the gun to get this whiskey to market. Jeff said they want to let it age as long as it needs. They hope it will be available in January.
Earlier this year, Batch 206 released Barrel Raider Bourbon, a 7-year sourced whiskey from Tennessee (clever name right?). They purchased 47 barrels and after sampling them all, chose to put some of them back in barrels before blending the batch. The mashbill is 70% Corn, 22% Rye and 8% Barley. It was a light and refreshing bourbon that was sweet and heavy on corn and oak. I also tasted notes of leather and vanilla. A great whiskey for sipping.
Barrel Raider is the first whiskey in what they hope will be a series of great whiskeys they find from around the world. Keep your eye out for different expressions of the Barrel Raider series. They hope to release number two in the series next fall.
At the end of the evening when Jeff offered us Batch 206 Mad Mint Vodka. I’m typically not a fan of vodka or most flavored spirits. This product, however, has opened my eyes to what can be accomplished when care and quality ingredients are chosen to make a spirit.
Even though we are a whiskey group I’ve never heard so many “oohs” and “ahhs” for a product. The vodka was clean and refreshing with a strong mint punch. It wasn’t overly sweet and it had a beautiful cocoa finish. One member said, “This takes girl scout cookies and kicks them in the nuts.”
When the group learned the mint vodka was only $24.95 dollars after tax, another member exclaimed “Are you kidding me? That’s a steal.” Our group purchased more bottles of the mint vodka than the bourbon, definitely not the norm for us. Jeff said that’s the typical response for the mint vodka.
Batch 206 is sold in 19 states with four more being added in the next couple months. They're also sold in Malaysia and Canada. If you’re outside of Washington, check their website for stores that sell Batch 206 spirits.
Here’s the full list of their current spirits:
- Barrel Raider Straight Bourbon Whiskey
- See 7 Stars Original Moonshine (also with flavors: apple pie, cherry pie, peach pie)
- Counter Gin
- Barrel Rested Old Tom Counter Gin
- Batch 206 Vodka
- Batch 206 100 proof Mad Mint Vodka
Thank you to Jeff and Daleen for hosting the Seattle Whiskey Collective. We had a great time and look forward to tasting your future whiskeys.
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