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Nose: fall baking spices including cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Slight woody earth coming through.
Palate: unexpected fruit, some strawberries in brown sugar, figs, grainy rye bread, and a little honey
Finish: finish is silky sweet with some sweet brown sugar and mint
This is a fantastic rye, it doesn’t have the typical dill, heavy mint, and obvious rye spice, but is a solid dram.
First impression: This is really delicious. Sweet and fruity up front - citrus apple, caramel, with some subtler rye notes on the back end. More on the cinnamon-pepper-fruit than herbal notes. I don't get any dill here. The proof is just right. Great value at $37. Really well done blend of straight rye whiskies. I hope the rest of the bottle tastes like this neck pour.
Note, at roughly the same price as Pikesville, it has some stiff competition. Will have to do a side-by-side.
Update: side-by-side with Pikesville - this holds it's own. The Contradiction is fruitier, brighter. Pikesville has more caramel and woody depth. Neither shows an in-your-face herbal rye profile. Not sure I prefer either significantly over the other, which I think is high praise for this whiskey. I do prefer the depth of the Pikesville, but this is definitely a re-buy and likely regular rotation worthy.
Update 2: this has supplanted Pikesville as regularly stocked rye in my cabinet. The price has come down to just over 32$, so represents a better value around here. Also, Pikesville has become harder to find. The flavors are not particularly complex, but what's there is really well done.