It was inevitable that UNLV beverage professor, bar owner and the creator of the patent-pending C-STEM spirits tasting enhancement method, Adam Carmer, would enter the market with his own brand of booze. Not surprisingly, it’s a whiskey; Carmer also owns the reservations-only Whisky Attic above his college staple, the Freakin’ Frog. What is surprising is that it’s a spirit whiskey—colorless, nearly odorless and with minimal flavor—not exactly the blockbuster small-batch bourbon or single-malt whiskey aged in a sunken pirate ship that Carmer’s devotees might have expected. (Don’t worry, Carmer assures, the geeky stuff will come.) But for now, it’s about getting the whiskey averse on the same page as the rest of us.
Conceived in Nevada, made in the Midwest and bottled in the South, Freakin’ Lightning Ultra Smooth All American Spirit Whiskey (FreakinBrands.com) arrives in Las Vegas as early as May 28. The virtually un-aged 88-proof spirit whiskey created by Carmer and his brother Mark contains 95 percent American corn spirit and 5 percent bourbon with a bit of rye in the mash bill. The Carmers’ goal was to bridge the gap between vodka and whiskey while removing all the dissatisfiers found in mass-market products: high alcohol burn, an astringent finish and off notes from industrial manufacturing.
Manufacturing is where the Carmers focused much of the last two-and-a-half years. Freakin’ Lightning contains no glycerin, no additives, is certified Kosher and is vegan. While faint, the spirit has aromas of white flowers, a little vanilla and a hint of cucumber. On the palate, it has a sweet touch, a gift from the corn spirit and bourbon, and a summery warmth courtesy of the rye. It blends well with, well, everything. It lets mixers be themselves and takes the industrial finish off other spirits in the same way that the magical stocking directors put over their lenses in the 1970s made everything dreamy—”soft focus,” I believe that’s called. In all, Freakin’ Lightning is an ultra-premium crowd pleaser at an approachable recommended price point of $30. Predictably, local nightclub companies are already calling.
Find Freakin’ Lightning in Las Vegas at Total Wine & More, XO Liquor, Khoury’s Fine Wine & Spirits and, of course, at the Freakin’ Frog. — X.W.
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