Charbay is a family run winery and distillery in Northern California, close to St. Helena. Miles and his wife Susan (Karakasevic) run the business alongside his son Marko and his wife Jenni.

Miles, a 12th generation European winemaker and Master Dsitiller is also something of a self-proclaimed eccentric as he will only distil whiskey from the best beers, which in his case means bottle ready beers. This also means his whiskeys generally have hop characteristics.

Miles began distilling at Charbay in 1983 with his first product being an Alambic pot still brandy and, as I write this in 2012 he has bottled two general releases of Charbay whiskey plus the LAWS special edition reviewed below.


Charbay official website





Charbay, 12y, Feb 1999 - Oct 2011, Barrel No.1, 69.1% ABV

Special Edition for Los Angeles Whiskey Society, bottle 41 of 48

Distilled from bottle ready Pilsner from Sonoma Mountain Brewery

Typical cost of this bottle;   Dram-atics "Classics" review


Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Glowing amber with a touch of port wine.

Nose: Wow, just wow, I'm almost lost for words. This is lightly perfumed, extremely aromatic, wonderful ... there's butterscotch in abundance, apricot, very perfumed furniture polish, exotic spices with a suggestion of cloves in the mix.

Palate: Massive, warming, glowing and an explosion of flavours on the palate. Oil of orange, espresso coffee, finest dark chocolate, herbs, spices, dark cherries and even some hoppiness, or should that be happiness? Yes, to both.

With 4 drops of water: The nose develops a suggestion of spicy wood alongside that furniture polish, dark cherries and now more cappuccino than espresso coffee. The palate is still massive, but is slightly smoother and more gentle. The dark cherries just exploded into the fore.

Finish: Massive

Overall Impression: A veritable explosion, I'm speechless. Great? You bet it is!










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