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An Intimate Evening with Far North Spirits

Early this Spring, a select group of wWw ladies gathered at Grand Ferry Tavern in Brooklyn, NY for the opportunity to sample different expressions of the single estate whiskey Roknar Rye from Far North Spirits. The ladies were able to share personal stories about their love of whiskey, their reasons for joining wWw, as well as learn about the unique history of Far North Spirits while meeting the distiller, Michael Swanson, who is also the farmer who grows the grains used to make this flavorful spirit.

Far North Spirits is a field-to-glass craft distillery in northwestern Minnesota. Michael’s great grandpa Gustaf and his wife Anna Christine arrived in Minnesota from Sweden building a farm on the fertile soil. They now produce small-batch spirits using the grains grown on their family farm. Michael’s wife, Cheri, led us through a tasting of 3 expressions of Roknar Rye. Her love for their 100-year-old family farm, the quality of the product they have produced, and their ability to share it with us was very apparent as she became emotional telling us the beautiful history of the distillery.

Here are the 3 expressions we tasted that night:

  • Expression 1

Batch 1/ 95 Proof- filled December 2014; bottled November 2015, 23 barrels, 230 cases

Mash bill: 80% AC Hazlet Winter Rye, 10% heirloom & organic corn (non-GMO varieties), 10% malt barley

Aged 10 months in new, 10-gallon charred oak barrels from The Barrel Mill in Avon, Minnesota; char 3 on the barrel

Finished 6 weeks in Oloroso Sherry (50%) and Cognac (50%) casks

  • Expression 2

Batch R/ 91 Proof- filled June 2014; bottled February 2016, single barrel, 20 cases (only available in NY, CA and MN)

Mash bill: 80% AC Hazlet Winter Rye, 10% heirloom & organic corn (non-GMO varieties), 10% malt barley

Aged 18 months in a new 23-gallon toasted and charred oak barrel from Black Swan in Park Rapids, MN; char 3

Finished briefly in Oloroso Sherry and Cognac casks (entire barrel in each cask for equal amount of time)

  • Expression 3

Batch 2/ 94 Proof- filled May 2015; bottled May 10-13, 2016, 36 barrels, approx 350 cases 

Mash bill: 80% AC Hazlet Winter Rye, 10% heirloom & organic corn (non-GMO varieties), 10% malt barley

Aged 11 months in new, 10-gallon charred oak barrels from The Barrel Mill; char 3 on the barrel

Finished 4 weeks in Cognac (60%) and Oloroso Sherry (40%) casks

My personal favorite was Batch R. The color is a rich amber. The nose is sweet & delicate with hints of toffee, caramel, & spice. The taste is youthful but balanced with sweet notes to start and a peppery spicy finish that is not at all harsh or overwhelming.

Upon leaving Grand Ferry Tavern there was a noticeable buzz in the air with a number of our ladies conceding that this was their favorite wWw event thusfar. You will not go wrong with any expression of Far North Spirits’ Roknar Rye. Below I have listed a few NY bars that feature Roknar Rye. For a full list of locations please visit their website.

Roknar Brand Assets.jpg

 Agern Restaurant- NY, NY

Blue Smoke-Flatiron- NY, NY

Grand Ferry Tavern- Brooklyn, NY

Flight West- Rochester, NY

Henry’s Restaurant- NY, NY

Le Bernardin- NY, NY

Maiden Lane- NY, NY

Post Office- Brooklyn, NY

Reynards-Wythe Hotel- Brooklyn, NY

Romans- Brooklyn, NY

Terra Blues- NY, NY

Woodhull Winebar-Brooklyn, NY