Disclosure: I was provided a bottle of MSW’s Small Batch Whiskey to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% my own.
Manatawny Still Works opened its doors in March of 2014 and released its first batch of whiskey on December 5, which is appropriately enough the anniversary of Prohibition’s repeal. A proprietor of craft spirits, MSW is located on the very ground once named ‘The Place We Meet to Drink’ by the Lenape. Manatawny Still Works’ passion for high quality, handcrafted spirits is evident in the distinct personalities of its gin, whiskey, rum and vodka.
When I visited the distillery, I was greeted by Randy McKinley, VP of Marketing and Sales and a total sweetie. Randy gave me a rundown on the distillery’s history and a crash course in distilling. Aged in honeycomb barrels, MSW’s whiskey is released in small batches over the course of the ageing process, each batch with its own distinct character and unique flavor. I brought a bottle of Small Batch #3 home for this review, and I was eager to get my whiskey-loving husband’s opinion.
In my husband’s family, drinking whiskey is a ritual, a rite of passage, a love passed down from father to son. Many of my husband’s most treasured memories of his late father and grandfather are sitting with them at family gatherings, sipping whiskey, laughing and talking together. To him, whiskey is much more than a drink, and he looks forward to sharing that tradition with our kids some day. Because of this personal connection, I always like to get him a bottle of whiskey on special occasions. Unfortunately for my husband, I don’t have a very extensive knowledge of whiskey or other spirits, so I often base my purchases on aesthetics. If it’s got a cool label, it must be good, right? WRONG. I’ve ended up bringing home some whiskeys that really just taste like dirt (#fail). Turns out neither my husband nor I are huge fans of overwhelmingly peaty whiskey.
In the case of Manatawny Still Works’ Small Batch #3, it most definitely did NOT taste like dirt (#success). While I may not have an extensive knowledge of whiskey, I can certainly identify flavors and appreciate subtleties. Small Batch #3 was sweet, smooth and pleasantly woodsy, with subtle hints of vanilla and citrus. Yum. My husband really enjoyed it (yay!) and even commented that he would be adding Small Batch #3 to his rotation of ‘go-to’ whiskeys. Shopping for holidays just got a LOT easier. Thank you, MSW!
In addition to a bottle of MSW whiskey, I also suggest treating your fella to a visit to the distillery and bar. The bar boasts a dangerously delicious cocktail menu and an impressive calendar of events. From bottling workshops and distillery tours to Food Truck Fridays and live music, there’s something for everyone (yes, even the kiddos!) at Manatawny Still Works. Did I mention the dangerously delicious cocktail menu? Hello, J. Potts Margarita!
Manatawny Still Works is a gorgeous facility with gleaming copper stills, towering oak barrels behind a bar constructed of copper and reclaimed wood, polished concrete floors, and rustic wood accents throughout. It has a modern, urban feel with an obvious nod to colonial-era taverns. I’m fully confident that this would be the meeting place of choice for John Adams, Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and the rest of the boys.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m a sucker for great product design, and the MSW logo and packaging really exemplify the look, feel, and spirit (see what I did there?) of the distillery – a perfect blend of modern invention, respect for the past, and a sense of laid-back sophistication. When you visit the distillery, be sure to check out their line of merchandise. Might I suggest a ‘Whiskey Saved My Soul’ t-shirt or an MSW ageing kit as an additional Father’s Day gift?
Manatawny Still Works is located at 320 Circle of Progress Drive, Suite 104, Pottstown