Le recueil: Tatoosh Distillery
They Make Damn Great Whiskey
Tatoosh Distillery & Spirits is based in Seattle, Washington and, according to co-founder and COO Troy Turner, “The name ‘Tatoosh’ references Tatoosh Island and the Tatoosh mountain range near Mt. Rainier in Washington State. “This is where my parents and those of co-founder Mark Simon took their families camping and hiking. Tatoosh symbolizes everything that makes the Pacific Northwest a place where one can create wonderful experiences and have great adventures.”
Turner and Simon established Tatoosh in 2008 and both have drawn experience from their extensive entrepreneurial backgrounds. They have also drawn on family distilling heritage, as Troy Turner’s Irish-Scottish ancestors settled in Louisiana, where they soon began to make moonshine, with Troy’s great-grandfather, Willie, operating an illegal still during Prohibition.
Moving to the Pacific Northwest when the law caught up with them, the Turners continued the moonshine tradition, while Mark Turner’s great-grandfather was Jack Daniels’ first salesman west of the Mississippi river
According to Troy Turner, “That moonshining heritage is the basis for Tatoosh and why I started the company. The moonshine tradition runs strong in Tatoosh founders’ family histories, and I wanted to bring the family history and products and share them with the rest of the world today.”
Turner adds that “All of our products are based on family recipes and what I grew up with over the years. The recipes were written during a time in which they were hiding from the law and making much of the illicit liquor in the back woods or under cover of dark. Fast forward to modern days, and we have very exact measurements, manufacturing and ingredients when compared to recipes of ‘a handful of this, cook it until it looks and tastes like this’ etc.”
Tatoosh operates across three production locations, using both traditional pot and column stills, also carrying out in-house bottling. While many start-up distillers decide to distil white spirits in order to create short-term cash flow as their brown spirits mature, the founders of Tatoosh opted for a different approach.
According to Turner, “We chose to focus on brown spirits, which meant we ended up self- funding this operation at the beginning and then brought on private investors as the company grew over subsequent years. We are now growing at a rate of 300% year over year. “
Tatoosh offers three core products namely ‘Single Malt Whiskey,’ ‘Bourbon’ and ‘Rye.’ Troy Turner explains that “We source our malted barley grain from a couple of select Washington and Oregon farmers so as to control quality of the grain source. Our American Single Malt has a unique quality that comes from both the grain and Cascade Mountain Water that we use. It is similar to a Scotch but we don’t utilize any peat during the manufacture process. Instead the light smokiness comes from the #4 char that is found in the 59-gallon French Oak barrels we use. The French Oak contributes the rich and creamy hint of vanilla, coupled with a soft tone of spice, fruit and tobacco.”
When it comes to Tatoosh Bourbon, he explains that “Our Bourbon mashbill hovers in the 70-80% range of corn, with the remaining percentage evenly distributed between Rye and Pacific Northwest malted barley. It is far smoother than, and not as hot as, other Bourbons on the market, which is attributed to the Clear Cascade Mountain spring water. The #4 char in our new Minnesota American White Oak barrels gives off aromas of soft oak, balanced with light spice and honey which results in a medium to long, warm and soothing finish.”
Tatoosh Rye has a rye content of 70-80%, and again Turner attributes its smoothness principally to the spring water used in its production. He notes that “It is a rye that, as we say in my family, ‘You can walk with all day long’ – meaning there is no need to mix or cut it with anything in order to enjoy it. The #4 char of Minnesota American White Oak barrels give off subtle hints of vanilla with a honeyed balance of caramel and soft oak, resulting in a finish that is warm, rich and long.”
According to The Seattle Times, the city is now home to no fewer than 24 micro-distilleries, the most of any city in the country, while the last six years have seen Washington State’s complement of distilleries rise from zero to 110. But no matter how strong the competition may be, the whiskeys produced by Tatoosh have more than enough quality, heritage and integrity to hold their own in any company.
Washington has always had a reputation as a state that produces some of the worlds best Wines and Beer, and now Tattoosh plans on adding Spirits to the list. They are honored to make Tatoosh spirits a cornerstone of this new and growing Washington industry.
Their tagline “We Make Damn Great Whiskey!” says it all.
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