“Shake well” is not a note usually found on a bottle whiskey, but those are the instructions that come with the latest spirit from Pottstown’s Manatawny Still Works.
Why? Honey. Local honey.
With the release of Batch 14, head distiller Max Pfeffer has jumped feet first into the booming flavored whiskey market. That’s good news for serious sippers. Instead of being cloying and syrupy like Fireball (the second-best-selling hooch in all of Pennsylvania last year), this sweet creation has plenty of kick.
Made by mixing the richest unfiltered buckwheat and wildflower honeys Pfeffer could find at Chester County’s Swarmbustin’ bee farm with a special batch of his best brown spirits, Batch 14 has a flowery aroma and a soft first taste.
However, be sure to follow the directions and shake it before you tilt back a glass, because the base whiskey is extra intense — by design.
“We purposely blended this batch of whiskey to have a bite,” Pfeffer said, “so it wouldn’t get lost when we added the honey.”
When properly jumbled together into a cloudy amber liquid, Batch 14 finishes with invigorating spark as the sip goes down, leaving your tongue with a sugary coating and tingling edge.
Though it rings in at 84 proof, standard for full-bodied booze, it’s very easy to drink neat, and even easier to swallow when poured over ice. Swirl it with your favorite flavor of Lacroix and you’ll end up with one of the lowest-cal mixed drinks around.
Since it’s such a limited-edition product, the new whiskey is only available at Manatawny locations, not at Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores. Happily, you don’t have to go out to Pottstown to get it, since the distillery also operates a tasting room on East Passyunk Avenue.
You can pick up a 750-ml bottle of Batch 14 for $45 — but only if you jump on the opportunity. Like Batch 13 before it, this local whiskey will sell out fast.