10th Street American Single Malt Whiskey
The barely is 100% peated from Islay which is then shipped over to San Jose, California where it is distilled with water from the California Sierras. The nose has a mesquite, light smoke, and orchard fruits. The palates has inticing flavors of grilled kebabs, charcuterie, with a little wood char and finishes with a soft smoke. D&M Tasting Notes
A unique and premium whisky that combines time-tested methods refreshed with painstaking attention to detail in California. Hand-crafted in custom copper pot stills with peated barley imported exclusively from Scotland and the mineral rich water from the Sierras. Aged in bourbon casks, for a smooth, velvety finish. The result is a premium whisky that respects tradition, but is not afraid to forge a new path. A new American classic. Distillery Notes
In 2017, Saksena and his business partner Vishal Gauri — both engineers — opened 10th Street Distillery in a non-descript industrial park a few miles south of downtown San Jose. It’s there that their small operation produces about a barrel of single malt whiskey every day, a true Silicon Valley spirit that’s showing up on the shelves of craft cocktail bars and restaurants and winning awards in competitions.
An infrastructure software troubleshooter by trade, Saksena was a seasoned lover of Scotch whiskey and a homebrewer when he decided in 2011 to try his hand at making his own spirits. He only had one problem. “I knew how to make good beer, but I didn’t know anything about how to make whiskey,” he said.
So Saksena went to the Islay region of Scotland for a two-week apprentice program to learn the ins and outs of distilling. One thing he learned, though, was that by following traditional methods, he would be an old man by the time he could enjoy his own spirit. “I didn’t want to make a whiskey and have to sit and wait 20 years, so the next four or five years I figured out what I needed to do to create a great tasting whiskey in less time,” Saksena said.
Enter Gauri — his dormmate in college — a chemical engineer who provided the expertise they needed to solve the problem. Saksena concedes that they approached it like an engineering problem — how do you change the process to get the desired result? Another whiskey fan with a nuanced palate, Gauri jumped into the venture gladly.
“I was in the software world, I was on the investing side of things for a while, but this gave me an opportunity to go back to my chemical roots,” Gauri said. “What more interesting thing can you do with a chemical degree than make a great whiskey?”
It took nearly five years to develop a spirit they were happy with — one that was aged for just over a year. And then came the challenge of finding a place to establish a full-size distillery with room for barrels, bottles, fermenters and giant copper stills. In 2018, there were more than 1,500 craft distilleries in the United States — a number that’s growing — with about 10 percent of those in California alone. And the process of opening a licensed distillery is complicated.
After about a year of looking, they settled on San Jose in 2017, which had the right utility infrastructure, a city government looking for more craft businesses and a 6,500 square foot space in an industrial part of town. While they considered several potential names for six months, 10th Street Distillery was the right fit and embodied their identity as an “urban” American distillery. “Only in cities in the United States do you find numbered streets like that,” Saksena said.
The peated malt barley they use is imported from Scotland, but they specify a malt that works better with San Jose’s infamously alkaline-heavy water, meaning they don’t have to treat the water as some breweries do. The result is an American single malt whiskey with clear Scottish underpinnings. It’s golden — the color comes from aging in bourbon barrels — and slightly smoky with hints of fruit and citrus.
Despite being open for just a few months, they’re already disrupting the booze business in typical Silicon Valley fashion. The 92-proof spirit won Best in Class Gold from Whiskies of the World and a Double Gold from the New York World Spirits and Wine competition. San Jose Mercury News