Scott Blackwell and Ann Marshall in their distillery.

High Wire Distilling Co.

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I don’t think I could sum up the philosophy of High Wire Distilling Co. owners Scott Blackwell and Ann Marshall better than they do. From their website: “Our approach is simple: seek the finest ingredients available and develop recipes using a creative, culinary approach.  All of our products are batch-distilled in a hand-hammered, German copper still to create the finest Southern spirits available.”

A Culinary Institute of America-trained baker, Scott has spent most of his life researching different types of grains and the resulting effect they have on the final product, be it baked goods or, more recently, spirits. Given his background, it’s no wonder that the couple has been obsessed with sourcing the best grains possible. With their distillery located in historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina, they are pursuing this goal by working with local farmers and grain mills. In doing so, they are not only crafting superior products, but are also increasing local interest in the big T: terroir – a concept well-known in the wine world, but one that is only beginning to be discussed among distillers. By working with the same farmers year in, year out, they are becoming accustomed to the vast differences in growing seasons and their influence on their grains. Scott and Ann are more than excited to navigate the nuances associated with each harvest and strive to allow the grains to fully express themselves. This means that no two batches are going to be the same, but will be of the highest quality. They are also taking this concept one step further and are working with these farmers to try and replant these heirloom varieties whenever possible, hoping that other growers in the area will take notice and move away from the commercial varieties currently dominating the south.

In short, we are very happy offer what High Wire consider to be their “core” products, that is, the spirits that the distillery were founded on and those they will continue to make. I could go on and pontificate about what this means to me and how it is the future of distilling, but I won’t. With spirits this good, they speak for themselves. So drink up! Tim Gagnon

*In addition to the items listed below, Scott and Ann make incredible, limited-release products including but not limited to a watermelon eau-de-vie with locally-grown watermelons, a rhum agricole, and a single malt whiskey. Please inquire for information and availability!

High Wire Hat Trick Botanical Gin 750

This is what I would call a new American classic. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but seemingly pays homage to some London Dry gins that we all know and love, while adding a little something extra. The base spirit is distilled from organic corn, and although all the ingredients aren’t listed, they include crushed juniper berries, lavender, fresh lemon, and orange peels with balancing botanicals of licorice root, angelica root, coriander, and cardamom. On the nose it opens incredibly bright with a citrusy, peppery kick. With time, aromas of blossom, celery, and anise come forward. The palate shows wonderful restraint and allows the roots to balance everything out with a warming cinnamon-like spice, a hint of citrus, and a long, woodsy finish. This would work in almost any gin-based cocktail imaginable (I’d prefer a Martini), and is also fantastic sipped neat. Tim Gagnon

  • gin
  • 9 in stock
  • no discount
  • $35.99

High Wire Distilling New Southern Revival 4-Grain Bourbon 750

Made from a four-grain mash bill of heirloom white corn, Red Winter Wheat, malted barley, and Carolina Gold Rice from the famed Anson Mills in Columbia, South Carolina, this is uniquely southern Bourbon. It spends eighteen months in barrel and yields a spirit that is happily grain-forward (when you use such high-quality grain, why wouldn’t you want it to be?), with secondary aromas of malted milk chocolate, baked apricot, and sweet spice. The palate is smooth, yet earthy and spicy, with fruit returning on the finish along with apple butter and nutmeg. This is a delicious experience for all whiskey lovers. Tim Gagnon

  • bourbon whiskey
  • 4 in stock
  • no discount
  • $55.99

High Wire Distilling Southern Amaro Liqueur 750

Historically, amari were made as a way to make full use of the harvest by macerating leftover herbs, botanicals, and fruits in distilled spirits. This of course means everything was grown locally, resulting in a myriad of different styles depending on where you were and what crops were planted. And while there are other American amari on the market today, it’s hard to think of one that truly capitalizes on its bountiful, regional raw ingredients. Most are based on traditional Italian – or even Scandinavian – recipes, which are delicious, but rely on herbs and botanicals that may or may not be native to where they are made. Enter High Wire’s Southern Amaro. Using a base of neutral corn spirit, they macerate Yaupon Holly (America’s only native caffeinated plant) and gentian root, along with wild mint, local Dancy tangerine, and Charleston Black Tea (the only colorant used), among other botanicals. It is then sweetened with neutral cane syrup which they make themselves from local sugarcane. It is wild and intriguing on the nose with brown sugar, sweet spice, and zesty citrus balanced by deeper aromas of black tea leaves, pine resin, smoke, and hints of brine and celery. The palate is quite lifted and herb-forward with a balanced sweetness, and it is here that the tangerine and mint really shine along with a touch of black cherry. Reach for this after a fantastic meal! Tim Gagnon

  • herb digestive
  • 5 in stock
  • no discount
  • $35.99