Sustainable Distillery Frey Ranch To Debut Its First American Single Malt Smoked Whiskey

Frey Ranch Distillery has been making serious waves since it first burst onto the scene in 2006. We even included its Single Barrel Straight Bourbon on our list of best bourbons under $50 in 2023. Now, the distillery is striking while the iron is hot with the release of its American Single Malt Smoked Whiskey, the first addition to its new Smoked Series. Aged for over six years and sitting at 110 proof, this is sure to be a top-shelf sipper worthy of any bourbon connoisseur's collection. "From a flavor profile perspective, this is a really different experience for our fans," Frey Ranch co-founder Colby Frey told Tasting Table. "On the nose, the whiskey gives off aromas of campfire, huckleberry, and sweet pipe tobacco, then on the palate you get leather with a thick, soft mouth feel. And the finish is like smoking a sweet cigarillo."

One of the reasons Frey Ranch has grown to be so popular, apart from how good its whiskey tastes, is that the distillery is the spitting image of rugged American individualism. Everything that Frey Ranch distills, its staff grows right there on its farm in Fallon, Nevada. That's right, 100% of the barley used in the mash bill was planted, grown, harvested, and processed on location. For anyone who knows whiskey, that's the definition of going the extra mile. 

In fact, there are only a handful of distilleries in the entire world doing that kind of work. Colby and Ashley Frey, co-founders of Frey Ranch Distillery, have turned their 1,500-acre farm into something really special. It's that kind of extra attention to detail that earned their distillery VinePair's Spirits Brand of the Year award in October 2023.

How the Frey Ranch smoked whiskey was made

In a blind taste test, most people would likely identify a smoked single malt whiskey as scotch. But, legally, you can't label your whiskey as scotch unless it's actually produced in Scotland, as the style is typical of the region. Traditionally, scotch whisky is smoked using peat, which is a rich layer of decomposed plant matter typically found in bogs and mires. Unfortunately, that tradition is dying off since peat is a non-renewable resource and, as a result, is getting more expensive by the year. 

Frey Ranch got around this problem by creating its own peat using all of the dead plant matter that accumulates on the farm. The staff then pressed it into bread pans and dehydrated it before using it to smoke the barley. And the DIY ethic didn't stop there. Instead of purchasing an expensive industrial smoker, Colby Frey – alongside Frey Ranch Master Distiller Russell Wedlake – turned an old grain silo into a smoker using a fireplace. "Someone once told me that I'd never be able to make a Smoked Whisky. I said challenge accepted. When you throw a gauntlet like that, my immediate response is I need to prove you wrong," Frey told Tasting Table.

Can you believe the lengths people will go to for a good glass of hooch? We can, and we're sure glad to see that someone went the extra mile. We're excited to get our hands on a bottle of this beautiful American whiskey and are looking forward to seeing what's up next in Frey Ranch Distillery's Smoked Series. To pick up a bottle of the new American Single Malt Smoked Whiskey, head to the Frey Ranch website where it's currently available for $59.