January 23, 2023—New Orleans. Innovative New Orleans distillery Atelier Vie starts off 2023 with a trio of barrel-aged releases: Louisiana Single Malt Cask Strength; Riz, Louisiana Rice Whiskey; and Barleycorn Magic.
Louisiana Single Malt Cask Strength
Atelier Vie marks a new chapter in our Louisiana whiskey tradition with a rare and limited release that is both our oldest release ever and our strongest whiskey release to date. This release of Louisiana Single Malt is over five years old; is a single barrel release; and is being released at cask strength.
Louisiana Single Malt is fermented and distilled from 100% malted barley wash at our New Orleans distillery. It is double pot distilled and aged in oak barrels. We began production of Louisiana Single Malt in 2017 and this release is the final portion of our first production run. This release is our oldest whiskey release to date and our first cask strength release.
This bottling of Louisiana Single Malt was entered into the barrel on November 30, 2017. On Boxing Day, December 26, 2022, we emptied the whiskey from the barrel in preparation for bottling. Due to the significance of this barrel as part of the inaugural run, and the amazing taste straight out of the barrel, we elected to bottle this release at cask strength, exactly as it came out of the barrel.
After distillation in 2017, the new make Single Malt was entered into a 53 gallon former bourbon barrel at 112.71 proof for aging. Over time, whiskey is lost to the “angel’s share” and the proof changes as the whiskey matures. We find that our barrel aged releases increase in proof over time and that was the case with this release. After five years and 26 days of aging, the whiskey came out of the cask at 59.05% ABV, or 118.1 proof.
Throughout the production process, the alcohol level of a spirit undergoes a variety of changes. Louisiana Single Malt begins as a “distiller’s beer” at a lowly 7% alcohol by volume. After the initial “stripping run” the resulting “low wines” come at around 25% ABV. Next comes the spirit run, where the “new make” spirit comes off the still at around 75% ABV, or 150 proof. Then, the spirit is brought down to barreling strength with pure water. After aging, the alcohol level of the spirit would normally be lowered further to a standard bottling strength.
A “cask strength” release omits this last step and preserves the strength of the spirit exactly as it came out of the barrel. Cask strength releases are somewhat rare. Because the alcohol level is higher, a barrel yields a smaller number of bottles. Additionally, during over five years of aging, over 40% of the whiskey was lost to the “angel’s share,” which reduces the number of bottles even more. The total yield was just 149 bottles.
Louisiana Single Malt Cask Strength is available immediately at the Atelier Vie tasting room for purchase during visits. Louisiana Single Malt and our other spirits can also be purchased for pickup via our online store. This Louisiana Single Malt Cask Strength release is bottled in 750ml at 59.05% ABV, (118.1 proof) and is priced at $125. This price includes all of our notoriously high sales taxes. A limited allocation may also be made available through distribution and national online stores.
Riz, Louisiana Rice Whiskey
The Rice Whiskey story began before the distillery was even formed. Stories about “rice whiskey” being made in various parts of Asia were part of the original inspiration, along with awareness of the abundance of rice grown in Louisiana.
We have been distilling Riz for over ten years now. The first release was as an unaged clear whiskey, but since then we have been filling more barrels and aging for ever longer periods of time. Most recently, we released a four year old Bottled in Bond expression. Today, we release a larger bottling of what might be called our standard three year old expression.
Riz is handcrafted in small batches from 100% Louisiana rice in our New Orleans distillery and aged in a variety of barrels. This release was aged in a combination of five gallon and twenty five gallon former whiskey barrels.
This release of Riz is bottled in 750ml at 45% ABV, (90 proof) and is priced at $75. This price includes all of our notoriously high sales taxes. Riz is also available through our Louisiana distributor, International Wines & Spirits.
Today we also welcome back an old friend with a brand new name. We have distilled several barrels of spirits from beer produced by our neighbors Zony Mash. After an initial release under a different name in late 2020, Barleycorn Magic is the second release in the series. But what is it, exactly?
The government says that whiskey is a spirit distilled from grain. Barleycorn Magic is distilled from beer, which is of course made from grain, namely, malted barley. However, since beer is brewed with hops, and hops are not grain, the resulting spirit cannot be called “whiskey.” So sayeth the Alcohol Labeling and Formulation Division of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. So please don’t call this spirit “whiskey.” Absolutely not.
Instead, you must refer to it as spirits distilled from grain with natural flavors. The natural flavors were of course the hops, but other flavors made their way into the mix as well.
Barleycorn Magic was distilled from a medley of beers. First, an assortment of “fluffy” IPA variations, which were distilled and entered into a fifteen gallon barrel; then a witbier with citrus peel and coriander, which was distilled and entered into a five gallon barrel.
The smaller barrel was aged for fourteen months, while the larger barrel was aged for twice as long: twenty eight months. After aging, the barrels were blended and brought to bottling proof.
What does it taste like? Some might call it the most concentrated beer you’ll ever taste. Some might use another word, starting with the letter “W,” which, as noted above, you may absolutely not use in conjunction with the spirit. (Unless, of course, you are some kind of boundary-crossing individual who doesn’t pay attention to The Rules.) Be all that as it may, 114 bottles were produced and Barleycorn Magic is bottled in 750ml at 42% ABV, (84 proof) and is available in our tasting room for $65.
Atelier Vie’s Spirits
In addition to these new releases, Atelier Vie’s lineup includes a variety of other spirits. Our gin lineup includes Euphrosine Gin #9, Euphrosine Gin #9 Barrel-Finished Reserve, and Euphrosine Gin #9 Bottled in Bond. Rum releases include Calio Rum, Barrel Aged Calio Rum, and Calio Rum Bottled in Bond Gin Barrel Edition. In addition to Louisiana Single Malt Cask Strength, we also have a standard expression of Louisiana Single Malt bottled at 94 proof; and in addition to our standard expression of Riz, Louisiana Rice Whiskey, we also have a Bottled in Bond expression. Our brandy, Orphan Street Brandy, “El Jefe” Edition, is reserved for “those who have paid the cost to be the boss.” Among our most well-known spirits are Toulouse Red, Absinthe Rouge, and Toulouse Green, Absinthe Verte, the latter of which is made with wormwood grown at the distillery. We also bottle Buck 25 Vodka, which is bottled at 125 proof for use in rapid infusions.
Inspired by our renowned culinary culture, Atelier Vie creates flavorful new spirits in one of the greatest drinking cities of the world. Our motto: “Liquor is art you can drink.” Atelier Vie was founded in 2011 by Jedd Haas.
Visiting Hours at the Distillery
The distillery is open for tastings and discussion of the distillation process by appointment only, with appointments generally being available at 10am, noon, and 2pm on weekends; and with limited availability during the week, depending on the distillery’s production schedule. There is no charge to visit the distillery and the company’s full line of spirits is available for retail purchase during these visits. Spirits can also be purchased from the Atelier Vie online store for pickup at the distillery. Visitors should see the company web site for directions, store link, and additional details; http://ateliervie.com/visit.
504-534-8590 (distillery line, leave message)