GSN Review: Eastside Distilling Oregon Marionberry Whiskey

In celebration of the berry that is exclusively grown in the Pacific Northwest, Portland’s Eastside Distilling is once again bottling its Oregon Marionberry Whiskey, set to be released today. Crafted using Oregon marionberries and bourbon whiskey from distilleries across the country that have rested in select Oregon oak casks, this is Eastside’s newest product. This spring, they launched three handcrafted whiskeys (Rye, Bourbon, Single Malt) and three other small batch products (Rum, Gin, Brandy).

The famed Oregon marionberry, a cross between Chehalem and Olallie blackberries, was bred at Oregon State University as part of a berry-developing partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the 1950s. Named for Marion County in the Willamette Valley, where the field tests took place and where many marionberries are still grown today, it has often been described as the “king of the blackberries” because of its complex, rich, and earthy flavor that is sweet-yet-tart.

Eastside’s Head Distiller, Jason Ericson describes it as “The Cabernet of Blackberries meets Bourbon Whiskey. I believe marionberry whiskey is where wine drinkers and whiskey drinkers meet,” he continues. “Many of the flavors and aromas of berry and oak will be immediately recognizable to oenophiles. The intense berry flavor mixed with notes of citrus, vanilla, and oak are the perfect introduction to the wide world of whiskey.”

GSN’s Remarks: Ericson sums it up well. This is a marriage between wine-like flavors and whiskey flavors. The fruit has a solid and definitive tang that still adds sweetness, while the spirit carries the oakiness and warmth. Really, the result is very much like a cocktail in many ways. Tasty as a neat pour, it also holds up well over ice. You might even be tempted to add a little to your breakfast table. Eastside has a real winner on their hands, and if you can snag a bottle or two before it disappears, consider yourself lucky. GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Eastside Distilling