Tamworth Distilling is a spirits brand from New Hampshire, and their latest whiskey is causing quite the stir.
According to Food & Wine, the company is now offering a limited-edition beaver-flavored whiskey.
The company made House of Tamworth Eau de Musc, the whiskey in question, with castoreum. For those who don’t know, castoreum is a secretion that comes from a beaver’s castor sacs. While it may sound really gross, it’s an ingredient that is more common than you might think.
As it turns out, people have been using castoreum as a flavoring additive for hundreds of years. However, it doesn’t often appear in whiskey. Tamworth Distilling explained:
“As we build recipes, each one has to be reviewed by the [Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau]. This is common practice and generally bases the acceptance of these formulas on FDA certified ingredients. The generally recognized as safe list (GRAS) is actually pretty small, especially when you are in the exploratory phase of spirits. There are a few really odd ingredients and castoreum is one of them. The sac excretion exhibits bright and fruit qualities (raspberry) and rich leathery notes along with creamy vanilla aroma… The result is a rich, full bodied 2-year bourbon that bolsters a vanillic nose and fruity, floral finish—a medley of charming flavors that are sure to impress.”
The company’s head distiller, Steven Grasse, explained why they chose to use the special ingredient, saying:
“There was a time when [castoreum] was ubiquitous and used widely as a flavoring agent and in perfume. In fact, it’s still used in a number of products today and considered by the FDA to be a ‘Natural Flavoring.’ I was curious what would it taste like in one of our unreleased bourbons from Tamworth Distilling—so we tried it, and it worked beautifully.”
So, while this whiskey isn’t going to taste like an actual beaver, a little bit of one will be in every sip. If you have any interest in trying it yourself, you can grab a bottle for $65.