Corsair Galaxy Review

Corsair Galaxy Review

Corsair Galaxy is my least favorite of the Corsair hopped whiskeys I’ve had. I can’t say for sure, but it could be that I’m just not a huge Galaxy hops fan. Different hops have different characteristics which lead to different qualities in beer and so it could just be that this style of hops doesn’t hit me right because I know I’m a Corsair single malt fan. I got to try some at the Corsair distillery last summer and it was fantastic.

The process Corsair used to ruin one of their perfectly good single malts is fairly simple. They loaded a vapor basket with Galaxy hops, put that basket in the head of the still and then let the hot alcohol rich vapor pass through it on its way to the condenser. This infuses the spirit with the flavor and aroma of the hops and is a way to add additional characteristics to a spirit without changing the mashbill.

Corsair Galaxy Info

Region: Tennessee, USA

Distiller: Corsair
Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley (vapor hopped)
Cask: New charred oak (15 gallon barrels)
Age: NAS (typically age for 5-10 months)
ABV: 46%

Price: $50

Corsair Galaxy Review

EYE
Dark orange

NOSE
Orange cleaner, grains, citrus peel, a waxy box of lemon heads candy and a light bit of wood and cocoa. On the whole it’s rather light with that orange cleaner note sticking out the most.

PALATE
Citrus perfume, orange oil furniture polish, bitter grapefruit rind, light pine, coca and mint. Like the aroma it’s pretty light with that perfume / cleaner like orange note sticking out heavily.

FINISH
Medium, citrus oil, grain, canned pineapple juice – tinny citrus.

BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Not well balanced – harsh notes ride high, round body, oily slick feel.

OVERALL
Nebulous IPA GalaxyI first had Corsair Galaxy at a bar in Manhattan almost 2 years ago and I didn’t like it then and I definitely don’t like it now. It’s rather light overall and there’s a cleaner meets waxy candy and bitter citrus rind nature to it that I can’t get over. I’m definitely not a fan of this combination of single malt whiskey and Galaxy hops.

Their other hopped whiskeys are not bad, and two are even good, but the Corsair Galaxy just hits me completely wrong on all fronts. Though I should mention that at the tasting there were a few folks who liked it and I suspect that it has a bit to with beer preferences. I like Saisons and Farmhouse ales and while I do like a good IPA from time to time it’s rarely my first choice and I know that Galaxy hops get used often in current craft and experimental IPAs. Though single hop beers featuring it are difficult to find since it’s a relatively new, and relatively rare, hop in the beer scene.

On the surface it doesn’t sound like a far fetched theory and maybe someday I’ll get to setup a blind single hop beer & whiskey experiment and prove it all out. Though in an attempt to lay the groundwork for that future tasting I picked up a bottle of Craft Artisan Ales Nebulous IPA which, as you can see, is a “Galaxy Hopped” beer. I did find some of the same notes in it and honestly didn’t care much for it so the verdict isn’t looking good for Galaxy hops, but the jury is still out. Though after several different tastes I know for sure that I’m not a fan of the Corsair Galaxy.

SCORE: 73-76/100 (C, consumed at a tasting)

Corsair Galaxy Review - Score Breakdown
  • Nose - 73
  • Palate - 73
  • Finish - 73
  • Balance, Body & Feel - 73

Summary

Corsair Galaxy is probably my least favorite Corsair product. I got to try a LOT of different things from them while at the Corsair Distillery last year and there was nothing there I disliked more than I do this.

Corsair Galaxy Label

Josh Peters
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Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters
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10 Responses to Corsair Galaxy Review

  1. Josh, in your piece here condemning Templeton Rye you said that you “don’t cover flavored whiskey here on the Jug.” Don’t “hopped whiskeys” count as flavored whiskey?

    • I hope Josh will also reply, but for the sake of counter argument, there seems to be a significant difference between:

      Company A: adding an unknown flavoring post distillation and not telling anyone about it.

      vs.

      Company B: adding hops during the actual distillation process (i.e., directly in the vapor) to capture aromas, and letting consumers know they do it.

      You’ll have to use a rather stretched definition of “flavored” in order to see similarities between A and B.

      • That’s exactly what I was going to say. I don’t see how they’re comparable. A) (Templeton) is much more like a Jim Beam Red Stagg which is a bunch of artificial flavors vs this which uses a an actual skillful technique to dial in something tasty and interesting. There’s craft and skill on behalf of the distiller taking place. The other one is just dumping some shit in your whiskey a flavor engineering company made and you had nothing to do with other than saying “yeah that’ll do”.

    • I see them as 2 very different things. Like A Bourbon Guy said, this is the distiller taking an approach to do something with their new make to get a different result. It also displays ingenuity and skill in the distillers themselves. They didn’t just call up a flavor engineering company, order a bunch of who-knows-what and dump it in the whiskey. I can see where you’re coming from, but they’re not comparable in my mind. Which is I’m reviewing this, but haven’t reviewed Red Stag or anything like that. I Have considered fireball as a joke review though.

      • Josh, both you and Bourbon Guy seem to be interpreting my question as equating what Templeton does and what Corsair is doing. I did not do that, and, frankly, it is changing the issue: does “hopped whiskey” count as “flavored whisky?” (I think it does) You made it sound like you had a policy against reviewing “flavored whiskey” and here you are now reviewing flavored whiskey. That sounds like a damning accusation, I suppose, and I apologize for that, but it was just meant to be a request for clarification on your policy. There was nothing in your earlier statement about not reviewing “secretly flavored whiskey.” But anyway, as long as we are going to get into this, let’s do it. Templeton is NOT considered “flavored whiskey” under the US government’s Standards Of Identity For Distilled Spirits. Any American whiskey that isn’t “bourbon” (either straight or non-straight,) or in the case of American whiskey that isn’t bourbon isn’t labeled as “straight,” can have up to 2.5% undisclosed “harmless” additives including artificial flavoring or coloring without having to be included in the “flavored whiskey” category. In short, any American rye, wheat, or malt whiskey or just plain “American whiskey” (like Tin Cup) you see that doesn’t have the word “straight” on the label COULD have some artificial flavoring in it and the distiller is under no legal obligation to disclose it (and in the case of Tin Cup, you yourself did the great work of uncovering what NOBODY else seems to have uncovered: Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey is being used as an undisclosed additive in Tin Cup American Whiskey. My compliments getting that information, Josh).

        • First, thank you. The Tin cup thing was interesting because he kept dancing around the bourbon question so I kept badgering him till he blurted it out on the phone. Really funny actually. Second, the way I read it sounded like you were equating the two, but I see what you’re asking and I see the confusion.

          Yes technically this is whisky that has been flavored, but so is the Pow-Wow I tried and enjoyed. I have no problem reviewing a whisky that utilises “artisan craft” to make adjustments to their whisky so long as they call it out and i guess I should define what I mean by flavored whiskey.

          So in the Templeton piece I did say I don’t review flavored whiskey and by that I mean things that should be labelled as flavored whiskey like Jim Beam Red Stagg, Wild Turkey Sting, Evan Williams Honey, Templeton if they used 2.6% of that mystery flavoring agent, etc. So the policy is that I won’t review the artificially flavored stuff. I might write about it at some point, even considered doing a Honey Whiskey showdown that includes pancakes for fun, but I won’t do formal reviews, with ratings, of things that have artificial flavoring in them..

          Anyone can call up a flavor engineering company and say “hey give me a barrel of your finest cherry flavoring”, add it to some crap whiskey and market it as a shooter and mixer. But not everyone can A) distill a decent single malt in the first place and B) attempt to vapor hop it in a way that produces a balanced tasty whiskey. Obviously I don’t think Corsair succeeded here, but they made an honest attempt without using anything artificial. Now if I found out they used an artificial hops flavoring of some kind I’d just give it a 00 and write them off too.

          Hope that makes everything much more clear.

  2. As a beer dork, this sort of intersection between beer and whiskey always intrigues me. I’m always curious what process the whiskey uses (I believe Corsair is “dry hopped” though I’ve never had it, while something like Charbay R5 is distilled IPA) and also what the differences are in the interaction of beer and hops vs whiskey and hops.

    From your description, it seems like you are indeed getting that trademark Galaxy citrus. It’s usually defined as Passion Fruit, but whatever the case, it’s distinct from most other citrusy hops (I think Corsair has a Citra hopped version, but despite the name, I always get floral as well as citrus out of Citra – perhaps a better fit with whiskey).

    I’ll have to track down some Corsair sometime to see how they fare…

    • Hey Mark,

      Yes the Galaxy and the Mosaic are dry hopped and they have a Citra IPA whiskey that, like Charbay, is a distilled beer. They do the same to make their Rasputin which is a distilled Russian Imperial Stout. Good stuff!

      Cheers!

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