Of all the bottles I’ve come across, this is my favourite (although Blanton’s is a very close second). There are a few other similar bottles (Few Rye, The Wild Geese Irish Soldiers and Heroes) none of them seem to quite have the amount of glass as in this bottle (and with Wiser’s Legacy). I just love it. The writing is appropriate and I love the brown in combination with the green, to boot.
Nose: Fruity, woody rye comes in sharply at first. Plum, lots of vanilla, apricot, brown sugar, toffee, some maple syrup, along with other wood – cedar and pine. I think of brown sugar bubbling with cinnamon, and butter on sticky cinnamon rolls as I smell….It’s a touch creamy, and a touch bitter. Dark rye bread also comes off on the nose. There’s a fair bit going on. I do like the woodiness of the nose. 26.5/30 (88%)
Taste: Full bodied, thick and smooth as a nice coating of oaky vanilla along with spice come onto the tongue. The rye comes on quite heavily too as the oak picks up and eventually wins the battle with a touch of bitterness. The mouthfeel is excellent. There are spices at the end alongside the oak that keep the tongue engaged. The interesting thing about the touch of bitterness is that it seems constructed. In other words, it plays its part in the taste but doesn’t stick around and linger and ruin anything. It is there, but is limited and doesn’t dominate. In that way, I enjoy it. Thick and woody, and not overly bitter for the amount of wood that is present. The spices! I love them. They change up a bit, and softly prickle the tongue delightfully. The spices alone have put this score up a percent or two….27/30 (90%)
Finish: A fairly clean finish with some depth to it. Vanilla, freshly baked light rye bread, brown sugar, slight citrus, and, of course, oak. As I drink more, I see more of the spices come through – cloves, pepper and some nutmeg. Even a bit of pear! Not sweet, soft pear – but when it’s hard and a few days from being ripe and sweet. It’s also fairly dry – I always like those finishes. It lingers, and despite the touch of bitterness on the palate the finish is without it (which is great). There’s a bit of what I might describe as starchiness which reminds me of the finish on Wiser’s small batch. As with the entire drink, oak reigns supreme. 18.5/20 (93%)
Conclusion: I do quite like this. In many ways it seems just simple, old rye but it is done quite well. I like how the bitterness is contained despite all the oak influence, though it is slightly present in a way that I do not mind. 18/20 (90%)
Overall Score: 90/100