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Redwood Empire Screaming Titan Wheated Bourbon Review—An Exploration of Small Lot Experimentation

Updated: May 20

Redwood Empire Screaming Titan Wheated Bourbon

In an era when attention spans are rapidly shortening and the options are near endless, it's crucial to do something to stand out amongst the crowd. Redwood Empire, a self-identified craft distillery nestled in Sonoma County, is doing just that. Founded in 2015 by Derek Benham, a seasoned entrepreneur, and master distiller Jeff Duckhorn, their shared passion, alongside the expertise of master blender Lauren Patz, has allowed them to stay fresh in the competitive whiskey market. But how exactly? And is "staying fresh" a shoo-in for great-tasting whiskey? My answers to these pressing questions can be found below!

Redwood Empire Small Lot Series

Guided by John Muir's inspiring legacy, Redwood Empire's commitment to environmental protection is not just a slogan but a way of life. From its energy-conserving column still to its partnered commitment to plant a tree for every bottle sold, Redwood Empire is more than a product—it’s an ode to sustainable practices in the spirits industry.

Redwood Empire's rebranding in 2019 and cohesive focus on the environment have worked in its favor. It has naturally (pun intended) raised curiosity about what’s inside its gorgeously labeled bottles, and I, for one, am one such curious creature that has tried the majority of their expressions to date.

Redwood Empire Whiskey
Retired Redwood Empire labels from 2017 & 2018

In a bold move to captivate the market, Redwood Empire unveiled its Small Lot Series at the dawn of 2024. This collection, as described on their website, is a testament to their spirit of innovation, applying their signature style to products with a distinct focus.

Our small lot series allows us to continue our spirit of experimentation by applying our hard-won house style to products with a specific focus.

Amongst the most anticipated releases was their American Single Malt Foggy Burl, a tribute to the burly trees of the coastal Redwood forests, followed by Devil’s Tower, a four-grain bour-rye. The final of the three, Screaming Titan, is their inaugural wheated bourbon, named after a majestic coastal redwood over 323 feet tall. The story goes that naturalist Michael W. Taylor screamed when he first spotted the trees inside the Grove of Titans in the late 1990s. Which begs the question: will this four-grain wheated bourbon be scream-worthy? Or will it perhaps be a serene nod to the lush ground the Titan Grove is renowned for?


Company on Label: Redwood Empire

Whiskey Type: Wheated Bourbon

Mash Bill Percentages: 59% corn, 30% wheat, 7% rye, 4% malted barley

Proof: 96°

Age: NAS

Further identification: According to the back label, this is a blend of California, Indiana, and Kentucky barrels, hand-selected and aged at least 5 years; available now at an MSRP of $85


Nose: Initially, I’m struck by a “poppiness” in my nose. It’s fizzy with a slight astringent component like a Pop Rocks candy wrapper forgotten in the wet grass after a late afternoon rainstorm. A deeper inhale gives way to honey and vanilla with a hint of savoriness—sweet summer tomato dusted with white pepper. Overall, the quality of the nose seems to be playing a game of hide and seek in the Grove of Titans. Let’s see if a sip helps.

Returning to the nose offers a bit more complexity, although still muted: strawberry, honey, and vanilla cream cookies. It’s rather sleepy for a whiskey loudly named. The empty glass smells of milk chocolate and tobacco. Perhaps the palate is where the energy can be found.

Palate: Well, maybe not. This is a lazy afternoon sitting at a picnic table filled with vanilla cookies, strawberries, and half-eaten key lime pie. Sweet vanilla and confectioner sugar remind me of biting into a raw marshmallow, knowing the flavors are better over dancing flames but going for it anyway (we’ve all been there and have the stomach ache to remember it by). A second sip brings in lime, graham cracker, and the tiniest bit of milk chocolate. The liquid nicely coats my tongue, but the flavors hold back. The final sip is a fruit basket jammed with oranges, limes, and lemons with a spilled jar of sticky honey at the bottom. That would, in fact, be a sticky sort of scream right there.

TL;DR: A sleepy whiskey best paired with an afternoon of far-away stares


Rating: 3/5

(Decent. I can go either way on it.)

As a self-proclaimed 'fan-girl' of Redwood Empire, I was thrilled to learn of their Small Lot releases. Consistent with Redwood's flavor profile, this release appeared more crowd-pleasing than scream-inducing. My hope for future Small Lot releases is that their commitment to experimentation will create more exciting flavors.

Jes Smyth - Pu
With what started as a genuine curiosity for the “water of life,” fiction writer and published author Jes Smyth has nurtured her enthusiasm for whiskey ever since. From learning the vast history of whiskey making to celebrating the passion of the industry, she tastes each sip with intention and purpose while expressing the intricacies of whiskey in a relatable and heartfelt way. She is thrilled to be a contributing writer for and hopes her words will resonate with those ready to explore the beautiful world of whiskey.



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