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I wanted to try something new, and I have never heard of this distillery nor this whiskey. Much thanks to @ContemplativeFox for the share!
Nose is rad. In some ways it smells young: I’m getting sawdust and a mild acetone. But the good stuff is more powerful: I get unwashed strawberries, pine, honey, tangerine.
Body is thankfully not young in taste. Fresh flowers, strawberry, grain, and a transition into jalapeño on the end.
Finish keeps that jalapeño, and not too much else. Potpourri. Mint.
In some ways this tastes like more like a scotch than the ryes I’m used to. It’s pretty soft in terms of flavor intensity, and the bite is very negligible. There’s a pervasive vegetal nature to it, and it gives it an earthly quality from start to finish. When it mixes with sweetness, I get unwashed strawberries. When it mixes with spices, I get jalapeño. Even the mint note is more of a mint herb than a mint candy flavor.
It’s fascinating… but I would label this as a rye for single malt drinkers more than a rye for bourbon/rye drinkers. I mean than in both the positive and negative case. Most ryes I’ve had don’t offer this range of notes or even these kinds of notes. But it’s also way softer and lacks the flavor punch I would expect from a rye whiskey.
February 24, 2022 (edited February 25, 2022)
3.75 out of 5 stars
I had this previously and liked it, so I bought a bottle. I heard that Corsair's new Dark Rye staple isn't as good, so I'm glad that I got this while it was still available.
N: Rich and sweet with some buckwheat and chocolate. Some herbal character that include a touch of dry reeds and also mint. A touch of dusty earth as well and also some mild malt. It reminds me a bit of Balcones Rye, but more integrated, coherent, and refined. A bit of a dry grainy layer coming out of the earth.
P: Mmm! Rich, sweet, yet still rye. Lots of malt, which has a bit of a buckwheat character to it and integrates nicely with dry reed and grain flavors. Some spices come out, including a bit of bite. Black pepper, white pepper, ginger, and maybe a faint hint of chili pepper. The earthiness is there enough to make the palate interesting, but not enough to make it challenging. There's a bit of a creamy 50% dark chocolate flavor here providing a rich base. Faint floral hints coming off of some rich vanilla. Definitely some herbal character, but not a ton of it. Enough mint to refresh and remind that this is a rye, in spite of all of its maltiness.
F: The earthy and spicy flavors linger the most. There's some chocolate and vanilla left as well.
- Conclusion -
This is a bit unusual, but mostly in a good way. It's rich with plenty of potential to appeal to both fans of rye and fans of malt.
I'm thinking that this is at least a 16. It isn't amazing though. An 18 is probably as high as I can imagine this being though. Eh, I'm thinking a 16 or 17. It's a bit of a toss-up. The argument in favor of a 17 is that there's a lot going on here. On the other hand, a 16 is supported by how strange this is.
I think I'd put this above Pikesville (16/23), but it's probably not quite as good as Whistlepig PiggyBack (17/23) and is just kind of competitive with Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Rye (17/23). It's a tough call, but I'm thinking a low 17 for this.