Working Title: “Spice Me Up! We’ll Worry About the Taste Later.” Prologue: TGiF! Looong week...it’s performance review time amid Covid and financial pressures on company’s top & bottom lines. Second wave of layoffs possibly in the works. So you know, good times? Prediction: I’ll go over my self-imposed 2 pour max per wknd day, this weekend. This bottle has been open for a few months . Currently at the half-way mark. Let’s jump in. N: From afar, a combo of ethanol, rubbing alcohol and rye spice wafts through the air, fighting for dominance. Reminds me of the weird-smelling faux hand-sanitizers, which were a by-product of early Covid response from distilleries pitching in and redirecting their production towards hand sanis. (Btw, If you haven’t experienced this yet, try smelling one of the off-brand hand sanitizers at your local grocery chain). As I nose closer to the glass, I get a bit of paint varnish, sweet vanillirye (yeah I made that up)...like what a genetically engineered hybrid of vanilla bean + rye grain would smell like. I also get some unfinished butter caramel. Kinda reminds me of first trial batch of DIY home-made caramel thrown together by an amateur home cook. Don’t ask me how I know. A little bit of water softens the alcohol hit and more of the vanilla peeks through. P: The warm spice hits you HARD upfront. Coats entire palate. Let me hear you say spice bomb! There’s some vanilla and bitter chocolate breaking through in the middle but still plays second fiddle to the hash rye spice, which I can only attribute to youthfulness. This one needs a little bit of time in the glass, and some H20 to open up. Adding a dash of agua and letting it sit, turns into a creamy vanilla mouthfeel. Now the spiciness complements the “not-quite-there” butter caramel, instead of fighting it. F: Long and spicy. Some bitter lemon notes. Nail varnish vapor still lingers. Epilogue: This one will probably make a killer old-fashioned. What it won’t make, is my permanent rotation, after bottle kill. A splash might end up in my infinity bottle for some spice kick, if it starts to trend towards sweet. Try, own, or pass? I will always try most things once but if I had a time machine, semi-hard pass on picking up the bottle.