To Craft Only the Finest Whiskey, that was Minor Case’s mission in life, he never settled for less.Limestone Branch DistilleryClick to explore our complete library of reviews to help you choose your next perfect bottle.
Minor Case Straight Rye Whiskey
TASTE: Red Fruit | Baking Spices | Watered Down Vanilla | Oak
FINISH: The finish is long with a mouth-warming toasted oak profile with hints of sweet sherry and vanilla mixed with black pepper. As the finish fades, it becomes dry leaving all the hints of sherry sweetness behind.
SHARE WITH: An excellent choice to share with friends who enjoy exploring barrel finished whiskeys or refuse to believe that a two-year-old rye could be worthy of their time and attention. (For the latter, I suggest a blind tasting approach to mess with them a bit.)
WORTH THE PRICE: On the surface, $50 for a two-year-old rye is pretty steep. Willett’s highly anticipated two-year-old rye was released at $35 which seemed about right for a craft whiskey at the time. When you factor in how the market has grown in the past few years and the fact this is a sourced whiskey with the extra step of aging in sherry casks, the price point doesn’t seem so bad. Having tried it on several occasions now, I can confidently state that there’s a lot of whiskeys available in the same price range that I have no problem ignoring to pick up a bottle of Minor Case Straight Rye Whiskey.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: At $50 I wouldn’t have an issue grabbing a bottle to try out at home and share with friends. It’s interesting enough to keep my attention and share with friends who appreciate learning about new whiskeys and the techniques that distillers are using to differentiate their products in an increasingly crowded market. If $50 represents the higher-end of what you feel comfortable paying for a bottle I’d suggest trying at a bar before making the investment.
OVERALL: I love the nose on this whiskey. The cream sherry cask finish works well and creates the illusion of a much older and more complex whiskey. It masks the green oak notes that typically accompany such a young whiskey and imparts a creamy mouthfeel. While I also enjoyed the flavor, it didn’t quite live up to the nose in quite the same way. It was good but didn’t have the depth and complexity of flavors that the nose led me to believe would be there. It tasted watered down, almost crying out for a bit more proof to bolster the depth and richness of flavors present but lacking punch. If there had been more oomph behind the taste, I would have probably gone out and bought several bottles immediately.
The whiskey’s finish built up to an overly tannic note that left me a bit disappointed. I would have preferred to be left with a lingering memory of sweet sherry and baking spices instead of the dry, oak notes I experienced. Despite the dry finish, I was very impressed by Minor Case Straight Rye Whiskey knowing how young it was in the bottle. Who knows, with a few more tweaks and a little extra proof, this could be a fantastic whiskey.
To help provide additional context to my review, I thought it would be interesting to compare it to another young rye whiskey that I had in my collection – the two-year-old Willett Family Estate Small Batch Rye Whiskey. In comparison, the Willett rye’s nose had very prevalent notes of green oak, menthol, and punchy rye spice. The flavor profile of the Willett rye was also dominated by green oak, pepper, and grain notes. It was hot, intense and drank like you would expect a young whiskey to drink. Sampling it next to the Minor Case Straight Rye Whiskey highlighted just how big of an impact the sherry finishing had on the latter.
I’ve always felt the Willett Rye was promising at a young age, and my opinion hasn’t changed, but it’s clear that it needs more time in a barrel to mature and balance out its flavor profile. In the meantime, while we’re waiting for that to happen, Minor Case Straight Rye Whiskey is an attractive option for those that are looking for a unique spin on rye whiskey with a more subtle profile and highlights the cask finish more than the rye whiskey itself.
Minor Case Straight Rye Whiskey Background Info
Information from the brand’s official press release:
February 27, 2017 – Limestone Branch Distillery introduces Minor Case Straight Rye Whiskey, featuring straight rye whiskey with a sherry cask finish and bottled at 90 proof.
“My grandfather, Minor Case Beam, made rye whiskey in his day, before prohibition, which was his specialty. This rye whiskey is inspired by him and a tribute to his distilling legacy,” says Steve Beam, president, and distiller of Limestone Branch Distillery. “His mission was to craft only the finest whiskey – we are honoring him, his passion for distilling and what could’ve been if prohibition didn’t occur with this straight rye.”
Available in 750ml bottles and aged two years, Minor Case Straight Rye Whiskey offers a warm rye spice complemented by the dried fruit notes from being finished in a sherry cask barrel. The combination offers depth to the overall experience of this whiskey.
“This is a direct link to our family lineage on our father’s side, the Beams. We are excited to share our family heritage and proud to honor our great-grandfather with the release of this product,” says Steve Beam.
The whiskey is packaged in a unique flask-style bottle with a letterpress label and a cork topper. All of the details of the packaging are also a nod to the family history and tradition. The bottle features the crest Minor Case Beam used in his labels back when he had his own distillery. “We wanted to incorporate his original logo as a special touch. If you look closely, you can see the letters M, C and B in the crest,” says Steve Beam.
The whiskey will be offered nationwide beginning at the end of February (2017) for the suggested retail price of $49.99.
Disclaimer: Limestone Branch Distillery provided Bourbon & Banter with a sample of their product for this review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.