- DISTILLER: Sugarlands Distilling Company
- MASH BILL: 51% Rye | 45% Corn | 4% Malted Barley
- AGE: 2 Years, 5 Months
- YEAR: 2017 | Batch 3 | 25 Gallon Barrels – 3 Barrels per Batch
- PROOF: 120.98 (60.49% ABV)
- MSRP: $50.00 (375ml)
- BUY ONLINE: Only available for pickup from the distillery via a pre-sale on 2/2/18.
NOSE: Ethyl Alcohol | Soft & Buttery | Cinnamon Roll Vanilla Frosting
TASTE: The initial taste is very hot, yet creamy and buttery. The nose did not alert me to the heat and full-bodied flavor. The flavor profile is very much two dimensional, and that may be due to the lower barley content in the mash bill. The second wave is a distinctively Tennessee whiskey corn profile that is sweet and mellowing leading into the finish.
FINISH: The finish on this whiskey is dry and lingering earthy oak with hints of corn. It stays in the back and sides of your tongue but as the wood fades yields to a red fruit that is pleasant.
SHARE WITH: A rye connoisseur. This whiskey is off the beaten path of traditional rye profiles and doesn’t have the sweet flavor consistency of a bourbon. The heat and the uniquely earthy flavor profile is a departure from the norm and maybe a miss for a newer whiskey drinker. For the well-traveled rye-lover, this may be the welcome change of pace in an underserved cask-strength rye market.
WORTH THE PRICE: I intentionally did not look up the price before trying this whiskey. Its price point puts it in the ballpark of Peerless Rye, but it is not entirely on par with that 2-year rye for me. At $50 for a 375ml, it may be worth the price for the beautiful package and a change of pace. I have never seen a whiskey come with a gas chromatogram in the packaging so for the chemistry nerds it’s like a toy in your Happy Meal.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: I would suggest trying this in a bar but with limited releases and gift-shop only pick-up you’re likely to only see this at a home bar within a few hours’ drive of East Tennessee. Not a bust and shows much promise for the future.
OVERALL: I was skeptical of a whiskey produced by a company that primarily peddles flavored moonshine. Despite the beautiful packaging, when I read the label I was still a skeptic. The smaller barrel size and air dried staves certainly lend to the earthy oak profile that is just slightly out of balance for me with the lower rye mash bill and sweeter Tennessee whiskey flavor. Although the offset is well-intentioned and designed, I think this whiskey could stand to age in a full-sized 53-gallon barrel for 6-8 years with a better result. I’m perplexed by this whiskey. I don’t love it. I don’t hate it. It’s different but good. I think I’d like to keep it around and see what happens as it opens up over time. If you’re fortunate enough to purchase a bottle through their pre-sale on Friday, February 2nd I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Sign up for their whiskey club to get VIP access for the pre-sale at www.sugarlands.com.
Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskey boasts a bold expression of black pepper, vanilla, caramel, tobacco and oak. This cask strength whiskey entered the barrel as a pot-distilled, gold medal winning spirit resulting in a balanced barrel proof Rye Whiskey.
Disclaimer: Sugarlands Distilling Company 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.