McKenzie Straight Rye is a unique pour. Distilled from a mash of 80% Rye and 20% Malted Barley, it is aged three years and non-chill-filtered. Finger Lakes Distilling chose to age the rye in quarter casks. Smaller barrels provide more surface area per volume of whiskey to the wood, which gives it a faster maturation cycle than a standard 53-gallon barrel. The whiskey doesn’t age faster, but it acquires qualities of longer-aged whiskeys.
The Blaum Brothers message of quality and authenticity comes through on this product. The smoked malt adds to the complexity and a full four years in the barrel, not overly common in ryes is evident in the taste. Having tasted this during bourbon heritage month, I feel like I am cheating, but I will try it in a Manhattan as soon as we get to October.
Like the Bourbon, this is just not enough proof to get me excited. It’s especially disappointing knowing first-hand what the 4-5 year old Rye from Wilderness Trail (who contract distills this) can be at cask strength. At 110-115 proof (I’ve tried several batches in that range) they fight far outside of their weight class; at 83 proof this just misses everything. I feel like I can taste the water in the bottle which is a first for me. I appreciate their desire to be more moderately priced but if it sacrifices the overall experience it isn’t worth the savings.
Let me be blunt for a moment – I drank the hell out of this bottle of whiskey. Damn it was good. The aromas on the nose combined to remind me of sought after dusty bottles that are getting harder and harder to find. The flavor, while not quite as magical as a great dusty bottle, was addictive. So addictive in fact that I almost drank my full bottle before saving enough for my review.
There isn’t a glut of cask strength ryes out there and Riptide is an interesting addition to the category. You aren’t going to confuse it with Thomas H. Handy or Kentucky Owl. It tastes young, because it is. The intent was to showcase the rye flavor, not overwhelm it with oak. I generally find ryes seem to be drinkable at a younger age than bourbons, so I don’t mind this. It’s tasty and lightly oaked and the higher proof lends body. (Funny how I look for the grain flavor in a rye, but never say, “I love how the corn shines through!” about a bourbon.)
In a field of what ended up being six rye whiskies, two stood out above the rest. The ultimate winner was Booker’s Rye, currently an $850 bottle. The consensus runner-up was a 3-year rye from a then-relatively unknown new distillery called “Wilderness Trail,” who had just released their first 4-year rye that same day. I was stunned and couldn’t believe that a $60 3-year craft rye whiskey would excel amidst a group of well-known and established brands, including a couple private picks. I don’t need many fingers to count how many craft distilleries I’ve gotten intrigued about, but this definitely was one of them.
This was my favorite of the three Coppercraft whiskies we reviewed. The nose was quite inviting and there should be no doubt you have a rye whiskey in your glass. I got the impression from that initial nosing that the first sip would be sweeter than it actually was, but when you consider a 95% rye mash bill, with the remaining ingredient being barley, as opposed to corn, the fact that it wasn’t should come as no surprise. That’s not a knock on the palate, but more of a nod to the nose.
The name says it all. This is our biggest, most profound whiskey for the Boss Hog in all of us.– WhistlePig Click to explore our complete library of reviews to help you choose your next perfect bottle.WhistlePig The Boss Hog V: The Spirit of Mauve DISTILLER: Produced by WhistlePig Whiskey but the whiskey was distilled by MGP MASH BILL: MGP 95% Rye Mash, Finished in Calvados Apple Brandy Casks AGE: 13 Years YEAR: 2018 PROOF: Barrel Strength (varies, but my sample was 119 proof) MSRP: $500.00 BUY ONLINE: Wine-Searcher.com SHAWN’S NOTESBRAND NOTESNOSE: Apples | Tobacco | Baking Spices | Italian Herbs TASTE: Maple Syrup | Tobacco …
With this release, I continue to be happy with MGP’s foray into releasing their own brands. None of them will be winning whiskey of the year accolades, but they’re all solid expressions of what MGP has been doing well for decades. (I’m still waiting for that MGP label that blows my mind. I just hope MGP hasn’t been letting their barrel sourcing clients take all of the great barrels resting in their rick houses.)