Journeyman is an organic distillery in Three Oaks, Michigan, who opened their doors in 2011. I was initially attracted to them for several reasons, all of which centered around the care and beauty that they impart on their packaging. Their bottle design is uniquely stunning: they’re wax-sealed in various colors, and the labels are extremely well designed with a rough-printed tactile feel to them. Their distillery and tasting room are beautiful, too, with parts dating back to the 1800’s. Before I’d even tasted their booze, I was pretty damn enamored with the beautiful bottles I was holding in my hands.
Journeyman distills vodka, gin, and a range of whiskies, and I got to try a few of them.
Ravenswood Rye Whiskey. I am consistently running low on my rye supply because it is my favorite whiskey variety. Ravenswood is a quality and terribly smooth-drinking whiskey. As I drank, I tasted the familiar cinnamon-spice grains, but was immediately surprised by a cool, sweet finish. “Is that wheat?” I thought, and after looking it up on Journeyman’s site, I found it contains a “heavily wheated organic rye from Kansas.” The play between the wheat and rye base makes for a spicy-sweet rye that I didn’t dare mix with anything. This one’s going to be drunk neat until the bottom of the bottle. Ravenswood will run you $45.
Bilberry Black Hearts Gin contains bilberries, also called “black hearts” because of the richness of their color. This gin has an interesting flavor profile, beginning with juniper but finishing with a mild, earthy, fruity bite. Not a citrus flavor, like many gins have, but more like a London Dry-style with a faint, berry finish. It tasted very good in a Screwdriver. Bilberry Black Hearts is $35.
Buggy Whip Wheat Whiskey. Like I noticed in Ravenswood, wheat adds some natural, pleasant sweetness to a whiskey, and Buggy Whip very easy to drink. It may remind you of other high-wheat whiskeys like Maker’s Mark. Buggy Whip is a limited release from Journeyman, but when you find it, a bottle will run you about $40.