St. George Baller is an American single malt whiskey produced by the St. George Spirits Spirits distillery in Alemeda, California. St. George is said to be one of the original U.S. craft distilleries, dating back to 1982. Originally, they were a dedicated eau de vie distillery, but have since expanded to produce gins, vodkas, absinthe, liquors, along with brandy and whiskey. St. George now has more than two decades of single malt experience.
First produced in 2016, this Baller whiskey has previously been very limited in distribution. However, the 2018 distribution is larger and wider, now available in thirteen U.S. states and two international markets.
Baller is aged in ex-bourbon casks and French oak wine casks. It is then filtered through maple charcoal. Then, it is finished in casks that held house-made umeshu (a Japanese style of plum liqueur made entirely from California-grown ume fruit). The resulting whiskey is described by master distiller as “a California take on the Japanese spin on Scotch whisky.”
Beyond the whiskey in the bottle is the bottle itself. St. George says the label “re-imagines the legend of St. George as a samurai.” Although the hope is the whiskey sells itself, no doubt the label has created quite the interest.
Nose: Herbal (juniper; thyme; pepper); malt; young oak; barnyard hay and earth; iodine; stewed apples. The gin-like notes are not ones we are often finding in whiskeys. (3.5/5)
Palate: Stewed apples with cinnamon and baking spice; apple crisp; malt; caramel and vanilla; dry oak. Very creamy. (3.5/5)
Finish: Interesting, to say the least. Stewed apples; bitter hops; juniper; pepper; malt. (3.5/5)
Overall: This is incredibly unique and very much what American single malt can be about. It presents some truly interesting flavors that will be a bit polarizing. For us, however, we appreciate the complexity and funkiness throughout. (3.5/5)
Value: This recent wide distribution retails for around $70, and we rate accordingly. However, there appears to be a growing secondary market where you can obtain this for about 2x retail. At $70, we are satisfied and look forward to trying more Baller. (3/5)
“This is incredibly unique and very much what american single malt can be about.”
Scott is a co-founder of Flight Club and a frequent writer and reviewer on the Club’s blog.