DRINK LOCAL: Immortal Spirits
“We’re making whiskey aged in Oregon oak, made with Oregon barley, I don’t know of anyone else doing that” says Immortal Spirits owner, Jesse Gallagher. “Casks are pretty hard to get ahold of, mostly we use re coopered wine barrels that are given this heavy charcoal called Alligator skin.”
Their operation is small, a 1200 square foot room where they run two stills, “Scotch-Irish style so the alcohol goes into age at a high alcohol and at bottling we dilute it down to the proof that best showcases the flavor,” Jesse explains.
Everything Immortal Spirits does is hands-on and meticulous, it shows in the quality of their product. The Early Whiskey, aged for two months and unashamedly young, is smooth with notes of caramel.
“We take way more of the alcohol off the top, that’s why our product doesn’t have that deep burn,”John Madison, head distiller, explains. “The big guys leave a lot in knowing that the acetone and methanol will absorb in the barrel.”
And he’s not exaggerating, he made an Old Fashioned—“which is the best way to showcase the flavor of our whiskey”. He proudly garnishes it with a homemade brandied cherry. It has a bright orange flavor with a smooth and refined whiskey maltiness that ties the whole drink together. It’s strong but you would never guess it.
“We’re really excited for our tasting room. We’re expanding our line, developing our own bitters, and we’ll even be serving beef fed on the leftover mash from our fermentation” says Jesse. “People just don’t know that we’re here, they don’t even know that there’s a craft distilling scene”. Their Knarr Absinthe Verte, made with Oregon wine and homegrown herbs, and their State of Jefferson Rum also exhibit refined taste and smooth drinking. Sold in Oregon liquor stores, keep an eye out for the grand opening of their tasting room this September at 141 South Central Ave. in Medford.
PHOTO CREDIT: Ryly Hamilton