This whisky is produced at the Buffalo Trace distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky, and is the roughly 6 year old sibling of the fabled 18 Year Old. I was very excited to happen upon a bottle last summer in Ontario, as they only pop up here from time to time.
Nose: Oak, dried fruit, and even a bit of menthol come off the nose. There are bananas and notes of cola as well. There are a few off-notes which smell a bit like stale grain to me. The oak is a bit mossy, and overall, though the influence is heavy, it is quite nice. Dried apricot, as I find so often with many straight whiskeys, is also distinctively present. Vanilla, as usual, is present – but it is not a prominent flavour and sits nicely in the background. 24.5/30 (82%)
Taste: An oaky entrance, with some dried apricot and a caramel and peppery background, with a light star anise note. The spicy feel to it is very nice, though I do think the oak does dominate a bit too much and gives it quite a dry feel throughout. The rye is a bit candied, as it so often is with the caramel influence of new charred wood in straight rye. The peppery backdrop is very nice, though. 25.5/30 (85%)
Finish: The oak comes through with some dried apricot and light vanilla, and some earthiness- it’s light after the taste but is quite enjoyable. It lasts quite well, and has a pleasant level of spiciness and sweetness for me. There’s also some nice lift with some minty notes, but the mossy and earthy oak holds its own brilliantly once all else has faded away. 17.5/20 (88%)
Conclusion: This is very enjoyable, and is a solid choice for me when thinking of American rye. It is sharp, candied, and spicy, with a decent kick of oak influence. Though I’ve never tasted the famed 18 year old version of this, I would be very interested to see how it compares given the longer influence of oak, especially since this whisky has felt it even at roughly 6 years. 17/20 (85%)