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Pocket Sized Review: Two Souls Wisconsin Waffles - A Sip Through Craft Rye from Wollersheim Distillery

Updated: 6 days ago


Two Souls Spirits Bottle of Wollersheim Straight Rye Whiskey - Wisconsin Waffles

What does an independent bottler from Florida know about 'Wisconsin Waffles'?

Apparently a lot.

Two Souls Spirits Whiskey Sample
50mL sample courtesy of Jes Smyth

When James Estrada and Chad Civetti ventured out to create their own bottling company to bring exceptional spirits from the best craft distilleries in the US to the center stage, it's not likely that they had a cheeky little name like Wisconsin Waffles in mind. But that's the beauty of what can happen when a really well-made whiskey speaks to you. It's the call we all feel as whiskey enthusiasts to find what tastes the absolute best and the desire to share it with those we care about. It's really a noble mission, and one I find myself rallying behind lately as I see what Two Soul Spirits has built in the last few years. They have already managed to bring several really interesting distilleries to my attention that weren't even on my radar—and I would consider myself pretty in tune with the craft whiskey world.


With a growing list of partners like Yahara Bay Distillers, Watershed Distillery, Finger Lakes Distilling Co, Sutherland Distilling Company, J. Henry & Sons, Rush Creek Distilling, Middle West Spirits, and now Wollersheim Distillery, I can certainly see more of the niche distillers that I know and love looking to Two Souls to solve their distribution woes.


Two Souls Spirits Wisconsin Straight Rye Whiskey Sample

I recently caught their backstory in a September 16, 2022, blog post from James Estrada, who goes by the "Whiskey Doctor" thanks to his PhD in Agronomy. I'll save you the Google search, my dear reader... Agronomy is the study and science of soil management and crop production—a very relevant field of study for someone diving into an industry built on the proper growth of the flavorful grains that produce the whiskey we know and love. In his Doctor's Notes, he described the simple origin of the brand, saying:

We came up with the concept for Two Souls Spirits over a couple drinks and an order of quiche. The basic idea centered on two observations we made about craft spirits a few weeks earlier. First, we both agreed that US craft distillers were making spirits that were every bit as good, and often more distinctive, than their larger, more established counterparts. Second, despite a boom in popularity, craft spirits were still not widely available to consumers. In fact, the best craft products on the market were largely inaccessible to all but a few lucky folks – i.e., those living in the immediate vicinity of the distillery (there are many reasons why this is the case, but that’s a LONG conversation for another blog entry). What we realized at that restaurant, with a face full of crusty, eggy goodness, was that we had stumbled upon a major flaw in the system. Craft distillers were creating great spirits, but the people who would appreciate those products the most couldn’t find them. We decided then and there that we wanted to play a role in solving this problem. With that, Two Souls Spirits was born.
In short, the goal of Two Souls Spirits is to make the best craft spirits in the US available to consumers across the country. We travel to our distillery partners, hand-select their very best barrels, bottle them under our label (always with full transparency), and ship them directly to your door (we can deliver to 43 states!). We bring the distilleries to you. This means that you can try craft spirits from all over the country by just clicking the “Shop” button on our website. And if that isn’t enough to pique your spirit curiosity, each of our releases is a one-of-a-kind product that you will not find offered anywhere else – even at the source distillery. Simply put, finding premium, rare craft spirits has never been this easy.
That’s it – that’s our origin story. Nothing fancy, just two friends with a passion and goal to change how people find, purchase, and enjoy craft spirits. We hope you find your journey through our spirits and partner distilleries as rewarding and enjoyable as we have. Cheers!

From someone who also rips on how overrated and overhyped modern pappy is, I have to say I love this origin story. I have personally worked through the difficult logistics of bringing several craft distilleries from across the US to the state of Massachusetts, pairing them up with the right distributor that is going to work for them, setting up the right liquor stores to be able to accurately communicate the brand and what they are doing, and finally even selecting several single barrels to help the distillery make a splash in their new state. All that hard work, and guess what—I still only got those craft distilleries I love a tiny sliver of exposure in the grand scheme of things.


Enter Two Souls Spirits: taking your little mom-and-pop distillery in the boonies of who knows what state and projecting them onto the national stage. I'm looking forward to seeing who is up next, but for now, let's dive in for a full review of Wollersheim Wisconsin straight rye whiskey.


 

Company on Label: Wollersheim Distillery (Bottled by Two Souls Spirits)

Whiskey Type: Straight Rye Whiskey

Mash Bill Percentages: 66% rye, 22% corn, 12% malted barley

Proof: 118.4°

Age: 6 years

Further identification: Barrel WW1 is a limited release single barrel that was bottled by Yahara Bay Distillers in Fitchburg, WI for Two Souls Spirits, an independent bottler bringing craft whiskey to new markets that wouldn't otherwise have access; this sold out release was available for a short while at an MSRP of $84.99; the barrel was filled at a low barrel entry proof of 114.1 on 1/22/2018, bottled 3/28/2024, and came from Wollersheim barrel 17-166, yielding 166 bottles


 

Nose: The glass opens with a wow—huge waves of molasses, maple syrup, and black bread leap out of the glass. I can tell it all comes from a place of wild wood interactions, like this barrel has been aged hard and fast in some wicked weather systems. There is a distinct barrel funk that I know and love. It reminds me a lot of Starlight’s rye, and as it turns out, Borden, IN, and Prairie Du Sac, WI, are of similar elevations. Diving my nose back in, I find simple, sweet rock candy and just a whisper of silicone. Hints of old-fashioned lemon drops and a kiss of rye grain enter the mind on deep inhalations. Overall, this feels like a gateway whiskey, reminding me of the first one to really open my eye: Willett rye. Time for a sip for this guy.


Returning from a sip, glass warming in hand, I find pine bark, beeswax, and a further depth of maple sweetness. The funk has settled down distinctly, and I find it far more comfortable—more like a bit of tobacco by the fireside now. Vanilla extract drizzled over freshly mixed cookie dough rounds out a wonderfully complex nose. The empty glass smells of warming candle wax and sweet perfume coming across from a nearby pew during Christmas service. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring this one!


Palate: My first taste offers cinnamon, maple sugar, and a handful of runts. Some of the nose translates well, namely the rock candy, as new flashes of sweet cotton candy tingle the tip of the tongue. The linger is soft and creamy, like a lemon milkshake. This definitely screams craft rye whiskey in all the best ways. Pie crust and waffle cone round out the breadiness the nose was exhibiting early on. Sipping later in the glass offers some more tannic wood tones alongside honeysuckle and bread pudding drenched in blackberry coulis. The finish is distinctly citrus without ever really registering on the tongue—like a second-hand experience of key lime pie found through a kiss. My last sip is a tingly tango offering gingerbread and graham cracker. It’s a lovely dram with a finish that holds on just right, with clinging, sweet, bready notes holding pressure against the center of the tongue. In a fun surprise during the long linger, a flash of bubblegum cropped up, making me want to pour another glass. Overall? Endlessly satisfying.


TL;DR: Share this with someone who needs to know just how good craft rye can be


 

Rating: 4/5


I found much more citrus character in this glass than waffle tones personally, and that is A-okay with me. At its heart, it's a well-crafted rye whiskey that could certainly serve as a gateway whiskey for anyone who might be afraid of either rye, craft whiskey, or both. It's a delicious pour, and I am glad to have savored it thoroughly thanks to a sample provided to me by my fellow whiskey writer, Jes Smyth. I'd love to see more of these 50mL samples make it into the whiskey community to help spread the word about just how good the whiskey in these bottles is. Fun fact: Michter's 25 year bourbon was recently rated in this same 4/5 category. I'll leave you with that. Cheers!


 
Nick Anderson - Whiskey Writer and Owner of AmongstTheWhiskey.com
With nearly a decade of sipping experience, Nick Anderson brings a well-calibrated palate to his profound passion for the whiskey industry. Beginning in Irish whiskey before expanding into bourbon, rye, and beyond, he has long been taking the ephemeral observation of unspoken enjoyment and translating it into meaningful words. He is the owner and primary long-winded whiskey writer for AmongstTheWhiskey.com, and he hopes you find resonance in the patient conveyance of an honest whiskey review.
 

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