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Penelope 13 Year Old Light Whiskey – How & Why

Published March 01, 2022


It has finally arrived! If you recall from our Penelope Four-Grain Toasted Single Barrel announcement from just a couple of weeks ago, we mentioned a second barrel of Penelope. We had no intentions of leaving with two barrels but we saw a small parcel of casks in the corner labeled “light whiskey”. We quickly asked what the plans were for those and if we could potentially buy one. We needed to taste it of course so Charles was handed the cordless drill and we let a few pours pour out. Even before tasting, just with nosing, we were all enamored by this American Whiskey.

Thanks to Mike, Dan & the team at Penelope for hosting us and letting us give two of your barrels a fantastic home here at First Fill Spirits!

Now, what is light whiskey? Although it isn’t the most flattering name, hear us out.

The move away from brown spirits began in the 1960s through the 70s and 80s which really sounds like such a terrible time. US drinkers were more interested in gin, vodka, and more delicate blended whiskey. American Bourbon, Rye & Whiskey producers were struggling and so the federal government created the light whiskey category and definition in 1968. This style of whiskey must be distilled to higher than 160 proof and lower than 190 proof whereas Bourbon cannot be distilled over 160 proof. Bourbon also has to be matured in new charred American Oak casks where light whiskey is matured in used casks. So the whiskey in turn was light in color but could be matured for much longer in the used casks and gives us an opportunity to experience a totally different style of American Whiskey. A true look back in time and history!


133.6 proof / 66.8% ABV
Barrel #: 600
Mashbill: 99% Corn / 1% Malted Barley
13 Years Old
66 bottles

Holly’s Tasting Notes: Chocolate orange peel, butter cream frosting with citrus and toffee. Either a caramel drizzle latte or going back to my childhood, a vanilla chocolate twist in a cone with rainbow sprinkles. Some char and oak in the background. The palate has toasted marshmallows, a dash of chai spice with burnt sugar cookie crumbles, and dark cocoa. With water, it just gets fluffier and sweeter.

Charles’ Tasting Notes: The nose has creamsicle, custard, sherbert, green apple, sugar, and vanilla. The palate is bright with corn syrup, berries, soda pop, and oak. The finish is super long, minty, fresh pepper, and sugar.


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