Chocolate, Whiskey, and Cigars at Cacao Prieto This Summer (PHOTOS)

Categories: Artisans

Widow Jane whiskeys displayed with their namesake grains at the tasting counter at the distillery.
Widow Jane Distillery's whiskey operation began with rum. While fermenting an early batch of cacao for chocolate, Preston realized that with a bit of care, he could distill the liquid byproduct into liquor. Early on, Cacao Prieto began producing cacao-based liquor, then rum, and in 2011, Widow Jane debuted Widow Jane Whiskey, made using different, often heirloom, grain varieties.

The liquor tour happens concurrently with the chocolate tour. One of the first stops is a small room where liquor ages in glass demijohns.

Upstairs in the grain room, bags of grain are ground to a powder, placed in a hopper, and fermented in huge casks.

Ground grain ready for fermentation ...

... or feeding the painted roosters who rule the courtyard.

The custom copper is lovely to look at, but the whiskey's even nicer.

Bottling and labeling Widow Jane Whiskey. In the background, students begin a chocolate tour.

The liquor tasting counter at Widow Jane Distillery/Cacao Prieto.

Linger at the tasting counter--there is plenty to savor. The seven-year whiskey opens with a warm nose of creamy butter and toffee; a sip reveals deep caramel notes, pungent spice, and cherry wood with a bright, orange-y finish. The "Bloody Butcher," made of red heirloom barley, is sweeter, nuttier, and milder, while the rye tastes younger and more bitter. The rums and liqueurs were sweet, chocolatey, and dark, perfect over rocks after dinner.

Next: Why not enjoy a cigar with your whiskey?

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