- DISTILLER: Created by Barrel Craft Spirits and bottled under the Stellum Spirits brand name. The whiskeys used in this expression are sourced from Indiana (MGP), Kentucky, and Tennessee.
- MASH BILL: A blend of an Indiana rye mash bill (95% rye) mingled with barley-forward rye and choice barrels from both Kentucky and Tennessee.
- AGE: NAS - No Age Statement but rumored to be based on around 5-6 year old barrels with 4-16 year old barrels mingled in as well from KY and TN.
- YEAR: 2021
- PROOF: 116.24 Proof (58.12% ABV)
- MSRP: $54.99
The identity of Stellum Rye is rooted in a tried and true 95% Rye Indiana mash bill. To enhance this classic style, we incorporate small amounts more barley-forward rye and choice barrels from both Kentucky and Tennessee. This brings a full, round mouthfeel and flashes of buttery sweetness to an otherwise spicy and tightly focused Rye Whiskey.
NOSE:* Stewed apples, peaches, and pears dominate the initial nose, along with an undertone of baking spices. Nutmeg and clove provide a counterbalance to the sweet fruits, while a light mint and licorice note brings further depth to the aroma.
TASTE:* Aniseed, cardamom, and coriander wake your palate with an intense spice punch. Notes of lemon peel and tangerine from the rye grain provide a nice citrus component to the overall spiciness. As the whiskey breathes in the glass, fresh green apples and spearmint arise, which offers just enough of a sweet component to engage all your taste buds.
FINISH:* Star anise, white pepper, and mint linger on the palate before fading into a honey-sweetened jasmine green tea.
SHARE WITH: Rye whiskey junkies will waste a lot of time unpacking everything going on with the nose and on the palate. That said, it's also tasty enough to be appreciated by anyone that enjoys a solid rye whiskey for either cocktails or sipping neat.
WORTH THE PRICE: Just like with the Stellum Bourbon, the price point on this one is more than fair compared to competitive releases.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Absolutely grab a bottle and don't be shy to get more if it meets your sweet spot for a rye whiskey.
OVERALL: When I first nosed Stellum Rye, it immediately screamed: "MGP Rye," which is no surprise since the base rye was sourced from MGP. But when I returned to it and dug in a bit for my review, I started to encounter layer upon layer of nuances that quickly convinced me this was not just a gussied-up MGP bottling. All of the hallmarks of an MGP rye are present, especially the dill notes, but as you keep nosing, it shows its true nature unveiling additional notes of light fruits (think peaches and green apple) mingled with cardamon and anise. Eventually, I was even picking up fresh lemon citrus in the background. Left unchecked, I could easily spend a few hours nosing this rye and uncovering new aromas all night.
While the nose may have lulled me into a trance, my first sip bolted me awake with a strong hit of rye spice, anise, and lemon peel. Those flavors give way quickly to a medium finish comprised of anise, sweet mint, and oak tannins. This whiskey lacks the richness and heavy mouthfeel of the bourbon, which was a bit disappointing for me based on what I value most in a whiskey. The oak tannins were also a bit heavy on the finish muting the sweeter flavors that I prefer. Luckily the whiskey stayed in balance, and despite not hitting my personal flavor preference, many great things are going on with this blend of rye whiskeys.
I've been drinking and reviewing whiskeys long enough to know that for every person that agrees with my palate, there are ten that don't. My palate is sensitive to oak tannins, and as such, I tend to steer clear of whiskeys that use those tannins as a deliberate part of their flavor profile. If your palate does match mine, you'll enjoy this rye but not as much as the Stellum Bourbon. However, if you want flavor profiles that include oak tannins as a crucial part of the target flavor profile, you might just consider adding Stellum Rye into constant rotation on your home bar.
*Note: After much reader feedback, we've decided to provide you with the brand's tasting notes along with our commentary across several other key areas for consideration. We feel this will provide readers with a more consistent method for comparing whiskeys that aligns with each brand's target aroma taste profile.
STELLUM SPIRITS TOASTS THE MODERN WHISKEY DRINKER WITH NEW LINE OF CASK-STRENGTH BOURBON & RYE WHISKEY
Breakthrough Brand Blended by Barrell Craft Spirits Embraces the Vitality
of American Whiskey to Create the Next Generation of Classic Whiskeys
Louisville, KY (March 29, 2021) – Stellum Spirits, a new national brand created to celebrate the modern-day whiskey drinker, today officially launched its inaugural flagship offerings, including bourbon (blue label), rye (green label), and single barrels, which are all bottled at cask strength. By embracing the vitality of American whiskey today, Stellum is focused on creating the next generation of classic whiskeys that include all facets of the American story in its vision.
The new brand is produced by Barrell Craft Spirits® (BCS), the award-winning independent blender and bottler of unique aged, cask-strength sourced whiskey and rum. Stellum strives to improve the flavor, process and ideals of traditional American whiskeys. American culture has always been about reaching towards modernity. Stellum looks beyond outdated assumptions of who whiskey drinkers (and whiskey makers) are to embrace that fundamentally progressive ethos.
The launch of Stellum Spirits is the result of BCS’ years of industry-leading innovation in American whiskey. This new project investigates the importance of nuance and micro differentiation in a paired down and minimalist setting. Stellum is designed to be clean, straightforward, and remarkably polished. This is whiskey factored down to its most defining essentials, blended and packaged with an eye towards clean lines and definition.
“We wanted to create a brand that brings American Whiskey into the modern age with simple elegant blends and single barrels selected with care and intention,” said Founder Joe Beatrice. “Our whiskeys are created through a rigorous process of study, observation, and experimentation. We are driven by progress, polish and—above all—attention to detail. We will always think critically about how to make our whiskey better.”
Joe is intimately involved with every step of the production process, using his exceptional palate to choose and create great spirits alongside Chief Whiskey Scientist Tripp Stimson, Chief Product Innovation Officer Will Schragis, and Assistant Blender Nic Christiansen.
Stellum Bourbon is bottled at 114.98 proof (57.49% ABV) while Stellum Rye is bottled at 116.24 proof (58.12% ABV). Both expressions have an SRP of $54.99 and are available at select retailers in 45 U.S. markets and online via the Stellum website at www.stellum.com.
Disclaimer: Stellum Spirits 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.