Do Good Distillery

I’d like to start by thanking Do Good for these free samples. They were gracious and nice enough to patiently wait until we could receive them in the US, and legally bringing it back so that multiple members of the Toronto Whisky Society could try 4 of their offerings.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. A summary of our reviews will be posted on the site soon. For now, you have just little old me’s reviews. And everyone else who has posted so far.

Do Good Distillery is built upon the ideal of making unique, wonderful craft spirits. Their emphasis is on whisky. They use local ingredients as much as possible, and give back to their local community: Thus, to quote Ben Franklin (which is on all of their bottles), they “Do Well by Doing Good”.

The distillery is family owned. Jim Harrelson, one of the founders, was interested in making whisky while talking to his brother-in-law, Paul Katuszonek (gesunheit), about craft whiskies. He then found parallels between making good beer and making good whisky. Thus became the driving principle behind Do Good’s unique whisky line-up.

Thus that’s why Paul’s face shows up on all of the corks.

The distillery is grain to glass. Nothing is sourced, they mill their own grain, do a double fermentation, and then use a variety of barrels.

Thus why I was so excited to review their whisky, and felt quite privileged they reached out to me.

So let’s see how these taste, shall we?

do good 1 benevolent czar.jpeg

Up first, we have Benevolent Czar.

Here is the description from the website:

Benevolent Czar is our “cask strength” offering, inspired from the dark, sweet beers made for Russian royalty. This whisky showcases sweet malt flavors, with big chocolate and coffee notes in the aroma & taste, that blend well with the toasty oak & subtle spice characters from aging in new oak barrels.

As someone who enjoys the odd Imperial Stout (and even a normal Imperial Stout too), I pushed for this one really hard. Beyond loving stout, I love cask strength offerings. I know some younger distilleries keep their offerings at a lower strength due to rougher notes that come from being young malt. That I respect. However I’m always curious.

So let’s see how this tastes, shall we?

Price: $49.49 USD at The Liquour Store & Wine Loft in Jackson Hole

Region: California

Batch: 01

Bottle: 226

Age: 1 3/4 years

Abv: 59.9%

Colour: 7.5YR 8/8

Nose: Butter, roses, strawberry vodka, cotton candy, angel food cake, mint

So when handing some of this out to other members, one of the sample bottles leaked. So while working I spent my day enjoyed the butter note. Given how much I bake, I think what they describe as chocolate notes I have as baking/butter notes.

There are some rough notes here, which isn’t a surprise as it’s young. However there’s also a really nice sweet, red fruit flavour.

Taste: Strawberry dust, butter, wood, funk, coffee/chocolate

This needs time. Water wasn’t as helpful, but time was very, very helpful. It eventually brings out the notes they wanted to emulate from the stout. While the cask strength helps, you gotta dig for it.

There is some funk here, which eventually will be a good part of the dram. For now it has a fish note to it that I’m not loving.

Finish: Pepper, rock candy, overripe banana, mineral, hot, wood

Finish is indicative of a young, hot dram. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing to enjoy, but look for raw notes here. It’s quite hot, and young.

I feel eventually this will round out with some fruit notes and the sweets can go a long way.

Conclusion: This is interesting to drink because while it has some raw, rough notes, but it also plays the whole chocolate/fruits/baked sweets really well, especially given the young age.

I’d say this is one to watch. While I enjoyed the others, what I’ve found with craft distilleries is they’ll use lower proof to hide the younger aspects of drams. However the downside to doing that is you can lose out some of the interesting parts of the dram.

So while I would say it’s rough dram, it’s one to look out for. It’s a whisky nerd’s dram.


do good 2 beechwood 2.jpeg

Next up we have Do Good Beechwood Smoked.

Here’s their description from their website:

Our California whiskey meets classic German beer. Rich aromas of smoky wood cooking fires blend sweet malty hints with a warmth that fades to layers of smooth flavor. Beechwood smoked malt, deep gold highlights and a burnt amber color pair notes reminiscent of savory meats and lightly charred wood from the barrel aging process.

When I polled the group about what they wanted to try, all of the TWS founding members reacted in a fairly consistent way (save one, but he’s odd): they wanted to try the interesting smoked options from the distillery.

To be fair, the majority of our group enjoy Scotch over bourbons. We apologize for nothing. None the less, that’s what we received. The first one is meant to emulate German beer.

I’ve had one or two of those. Let’s see how this tastes, shall we?

do good 2 beechwood.jpeg

Price: $51.49 USD at The Liquour Store & Wine Loft in Jackson Hole

Region: California

Abv: 45.55%

Colour: 10YR 6/8

Nose: Light wood, apple, rubbing alcohol, birch syrup, peach, lime zest

Light nose, however as I’ve said before, I find craft distilleries tend to tone down their first malts to hide some of the youth. There’s still some rubbing alcohol here, but given time it eventually subsides.

If you’ve never had the chance to try the Canadian hipster maple syrup that is birch syrup, I’ll explain it like this: It’s drier, less sweet, and more “moorish” than maple syrup. Keep that in mind, as it’ll come up.

Taste: Birch syrup, floral, sour apple, banana syrup

Floral, sour, and dry. Light on the taste. Good mouthfeel, but sour and floral are the main aspects. It can be a little bit rough.

Birch syrup is the main note I get over and over. The dry, sweet but not overly sweet note.

Finish: Lime zest, wood, tonic water, sand, caramel, macadamia nuts

Dry. Very dry finish. Like gin and tonics? Then this may be for you. I’m not the biggest fan, personally. Lots of lime here as well. Finish was more flavourful than the taste, however it’s short.

Conclusion: This does not fit into my personal wheelhouse. Let’s be clear on that. It’s mostly sour, dry, and not too sweet. It falls closer to smooth drams than others.

Let’s put that aside for a second though. Instead let’s state this needs more time. I think the Beechwood smoke could eventually make for an interesting dram. However versus Peat, which can make a younger malt taste interesting quicker, I think Beechwood needs time. Or maybe not. Honestly this is the first and only one I’ve had.

Wait, do I need to say only there?

Let’s stay on topic.

What I’m saying is I feel this deserves another try after some years. For now? If you’re a fan of German beer, then try it. I’m not, so I’m going to buy other things.


do good 3 cherrywood.jpeg

As you can guess, we’re now on a “smoked” kick. So the next one is Do Good Cherry Wood Smoked

Here’s a description from the website.

Single Malt Whisky is widely associated with a long tradition of quality. We decided to put a uniquely American spin on single malt whisky by utilizing cherrywood-smoked malted barley. Our award-winning Cherrywood Smoked Single Malt Whisky has a burnished golden color, a subtly smoky aroma with balanced sweet and savory flavors.

So there you have it: They made a single malt, smoked it with cherrywood instead of peat, and won an award. How cool is that? And they were nice enough to send an entire bottle, so we can continue to share this one with other members of the group as time goes on.

But what do I, the one you’re reading right now think about it? Well let’s see, shall we?

Price: $51.49 USD at The Liquour Store & Wine Loft in Jackson Hole

Region: California

Abv: 45.55%

Colour: 7.5YR 7/6

Nose: Cherry, peach, grape, corn, light brown sugar, pot pourri, banana

The closest thing I can compare this one to is if you had a sherry casked Lowland with more balls and maybe some American influence.

So far the best nose of the bunch. I really do enjoy it. That said, remember that I really enjoy Lowland malts, so your mileage may vary. Also how much you like it.

Taste: Cherry, pepper, molasses, simple syrup, palm

Taste still has that cherry aspect to it, however the youth comes out here more. Good mouthfeel, but lighter notes again. The brown sugar aspect plays itself up quite a bit.

Given time there’s a nice plum flavour that lingers on the outside of the dram.

Finish: Rye spice, almond/cherry, grape juice, funk

Surprising spice finish that I wasn’t expecting. Lots of grape juice in the finish too.

Like I said above, the funk aspect here will eventually add an interesting angle when combined with age. For now? Not doing it many favours.

Conclusion: Quite a nice dram, and probably the one I’d recommend you pickup from this distillery. This has mirrored a nice sherry dram from the Lowlands without losing much.

I should add: It’s like a Lowland due to the floral aspects as well as the fruit notes. I know some people read Lowland and run: I’d say try this one instead. The cherrywood has done it better.

I’d even go so far to say Auchentoshan should take notes and maybe import in some logs for their malt.


Do Good 4 Peat 2.jpeg

Finally we have a more traditional smoked dram, Do Good Peat Smoked.

Here’s the description:

We convinced our peated whisky-making counterparts to share some of their malt with us so that we could create our own California crafted peat-smoked whisky. This whisky starts its aging process in used rye whisky casks and is finished in our own 3 Mile rum barrels. We present our own version of “Uische Beatha!” Our Peat Smoked Whisky has a refined taste with bright aromas of rich peaty earth and a subtle smoky nose. As our friends across the pond say, “Today’s rain is tomorrow’s whisky.”

So lots going on here. The malt is from a different group (not disclosed). They still make their own whisky in house, which is pretty cool. Then they age it in a mix of casks that we’re not used to seeing.

It’s not easy to use ex-rum casks. Many a distillery in Scotland has tried, and few have success. It’s a bold move, suffice to say. Most distilleries would just make a peated whisky and call it a day, given a lot of us are easy to please with just that.

Let’s see how it turned out.

Do Good 4 Peat.jpeg

Price: $51.49 USD at The Liquour Store & Wine Loft in Jackson Hole

Region: California

Abv: 45.55%

Colour: 5Y 7/6

Nose: Brown sugar, soft peat, cocoa, pear, pepper steak, peanut

The initial thought when I was going to have this was “It’ll be like an Islay”. However that was very wrong. Don’t worry, I sufficiently punished myself for that mistake.

No, rather this is closer to a peated highland on the nose. There’s not brine here. It’s a softer peat, more earth forward. Nice nose, just as good as the cherrywood above.

Taste: Peat, tobacco, mint, caramel, basil, olive oil

Really nice taste. We see what people in Scotland know the best: Peat can balance out a young dram. Here it is evident.

As many of you know, I’m not the biggest tobacco fan. Please keep that in mind when reading my score.

Finish: Mint, marzipan, smoke, butterscotch, vegetal, earth

Finish is quite earth forward. Again, don’t think of an Islay, more so think of a Glen Garioch from the 90s. Or if you aren’t a snob like me and have never had that, think of no brine and more earth.

I won’t lie, the earth does take over as time goes. The youth is finally evident on this dram at the end. Peat can only carry something so far. The mint and dark sugar notes do nicely, and I can see why they used the casks they did for it.

Conclusion: A really well put together dram, I think this one describes the distillery better than all the others. We have innovative techniques that make an interesting dram. Spice shows up from the ex-rye casks, rum casks are used well to hide a rougher finish, and peat carries it.

Another one to pick up, if you’re in the market. It also gives a different view of peat versus what’s currently on the market.


Bourbon reviews #189-192, California reviews #4-7, Whisky Network reviews #1010-1013

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