top of page

Pocket Sized Review: Redwood Empire - Pipe Dream Cask Strength Craft Bourbon Whiskey

Redwood Empire Cask Strength Pipe Dream Bourbon Sample - Pocket Review

A fan favorite from Redwood Empire since the introduction of the cask strength releases, Pipe Dream is the 116.8 proof bourbon that whiskey enthusiasts have been begging for. Let's find out if this one is worth picking up, shall we?


Company on Label: Redwood Empire Distilling

Whiskey Type: Bourbon

Mash Bill Percentages: 74% corn, 20% rye, 1.5% wheat, and 4.5% malted barley

Proof: 116.8°

Age: 4 years (a blend of 4-12 year old bourbons from California, Indiana and Kentucky)

Further identification: The cask strength variants of Redwood Empire were first released in October 2022 as an expansion of their core offerings with batch 1 Cask Strength Pipe Dream being offered at an MSRP of ~$65; Pipe Dream owes its name to the 367 foot tall. 1,340 year old tree - the 14th tallest in the world


Nose: Leathery, oak-forward notes jump out of the glass first, which is traditionally a welcome introduction to well-aged whiskey. Soft hints of cherry skins layer in on subsequent sniffs as the glass begins to warm in my hand. The aromas are reserved early, but the air passing into the nose is notably creamy & delicate, offering no qualms of sharpness or heat for the senses to scowl at. Deep inhales from a buried nose reveal hints of toffee, coffee, and chocolate. Oh! Lightswitch moment... Hello nutmeg, I'm pleased to see you've joined the coffee aromas. You've taken me into the comfort of a warm java house, a stark contrast to the frigid air of winter's chill. Deep barrel influence is starting to shine through in a great wave of warm aromas. Delicate wood spice begins to tickle the nostrils before venturing in for a sip.

Coming back to the glass after a few sips shows a nose that has returned to a well-tempered, typical bourbon. Nuggets of caramel, barrel boogers, and Columbian coffee beans are fun to continue to find later in the pour. The empty glass smells of amaretto and hot chocolate, which pair wonderfully together if you've never tried them together.

Palate: The first sip of Pipe Dream swirls in the mouth with delicate, creamy fruit. I find cherry prominently, before strawberry parfait tones pull me to attention with raised eyebrows. The linger is soft in its texture and flavor, but gargantuan in its volume. Another sip layers in more distinct fruit layers like pear, grapefruit, peach, and blood orange. I'm quite a fan of that level of sweet complexity. A longer sip and swish opens the mind to the wonderful balance between the delicate fruit basket and some Christmas spices that land in cozy comfort like Sunday dinner with a loving family around you. The linger stands tall like the redwood tree it is named after, showing off a whiskey that is well crafted from start to finish. Sipping late into the glass shows off layers upon layers, like counting the rings on an arborist's cross-section cut. I find hints of walnut, tiramisu, raspberry, and a distinct flash of tobacco on the back end. My last sip is perfectly balanced with stewed pears loaded with cinnamon and red grapes. The finish is long and tingling with nutmeg, soft espresso, and a satisfying sugary sweetness that sticks in the gums and teeth.

TL;DR: A wonderfully layered bourbon with a funky nose and a complex delicious palate


Rating: 4/5

Redwood Empire Cask Strength Pipe Dream Bourbon Whiskey

Oh this is lovely. I can easily say this is the best release that Redwood Empire puts out right now. It's classic, delicate, layered, creamy, and offers a long thought-provoking finish. It's everything I look for in a great whiskey. I will be hunting this one down to have in the whiskey study.



bottom of page