Heads Above The Rest!

Heads Above The Rest!

Appalachian Mountain Spirits is in the press again! This time in Micro Shiner Magazine with AMS being declared “head and shoulders above its Virginian peers”.

The Article is copied below:




Virginian Whiskys Build Upon the Highland Tradition

story by Ian Gregory for MicroShiner.com

The beginning of each new year always provides an excellent opportunity to take an assessment of

both ourselves and the world in which we live. For patrons and practitioners of craft, the message to the

spirits community in 2016 is clear: O ur time is now ! Artisanal distillers, brewers, fermenters and

farmers have been pouring into the craft space from all walks of life, and the synergy of their passion

and personal experience has exploded into a staggering wealth of unique and reimagined


Navigating this new landscape of nearly endless options may seem daunting, but there is a sound

strategy for success: start with something you love and see which new wrinkle suits your fancy.

In America’s original colony, two acclaimed whiskey producers are doing just that, adding nuanced

layers to a couple of traditional favorites.

Perched above the sleepy streets of small town M arion, Virginia, lies the Schumaker family farm, home

of A ppalachian Mountain Spirits and the Virginia Sweetwater Distillery. Brainchild of founder Scott

“Mash” Schumaker, this smallscale

production facility evolved out of Scott’s foray into harvesting

organic energy from potatoes, along with his deep appreciation for the centuriesold


tradition of this lush, mountainous region. Earning awards and praise for his Sweetwater Moonshine

and War Horn Whisky, Mr. Schumaker has recently unveiled an extraordinary fusion between the hills

and hollers of his Appalachian backyard and the highlands of his Scottish heritage: Revelations Single

Malt Corn Whisky.

Early Gaelic settlers were drawn to the area that would become Marion because of its similarities to

their Highland homes, and Scott has drawn on those roots to imagine what a traditional Scotch distiller

might come up with if tasked with using the local Virginian grains. The result is a Red Oaksmoked,

75% Corn / 25% Rye Whisky that has been aged in Bourbon barrels for three years and released in a

very limited quantity. In the glass, Revelations holds a deep, amber hue and sweet, smoky nose that is

somewhat reminiscent of caramelized bacon. As it meets the palate, the single malt feels smooth,

almost syrupy, lingering low in the mouth and warming the back of the throat with each satisfying sip.

At 95 proof, that heat is certainly potent, but the burn never detracts from the enjoyment of the Whisky,

and the overall effect is to slice right through the line between an excellent Bourbon and a classic


At the other end of the Commonwealth, and a fair bit closer to sea level, lies the Loudoun Valley and

Purcellville, Virginia, base of operations for C atoctin Creek Distilling Company. Though the region is

widely known as “D .C.’s Wine Country” , founders Becky and Scott Harris have carved quite a niche

for themselves as whiskey producers, opening the first legal distillery in the county since Prohibition.

With a strong focus on using only the highest quality ingredients, Scott and Becky’s flagship offering,

Roundstone Rye, is both organic and kosher, a 100% Rye Whisky. This purity results in a powerful

nose that permeates the skull with expected verdant tones, accompanied by a trace of citrus.

Distilled at 92 proof, Roundstone is not overpowering through the lips, though the vapors from the

alcohol rise sharply, as if compelled to fill the sinuses, creating the need for a hearty exhale after most

sips. This acute, airy quality of the Rye is familiar, but heightened, perhaps due to the exceptional

caliber of components or possibly from Becky Harris’ influence as a seasoned chemical engineer.

Whatever the cause, the Catoctin Roundstone’s profile comes across as nearly too clean, carrying many

of the grassy, even floral notes of a Rye, but not quite capturing the body and presence of an elite


Returning to the Highlands of Marion, however, in Revelations Single Malt one does find that depth

and richness at its core. The earthy undertones of toffee and molasses are complemented by hints of

smoky vanilla, imbued by the Red Oak firing. The silky smooth Bourbon/Scotch hybrid is a true prize,

especially in such short supply, and one can only hope that Mr. Schumaker sees fit to continue the line.

While his operation may lack the polish and production capacity of its more metropolitan neighbors,

“Mash’s Revelation” is head and shoulders above its Virginian peers.





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