On April 16, I took out my rye from the barrel (if you haven’t followed this story, please see here) – it kept getting better, but it was getting pretty good and I didn’t want to lose too much to evaporation. 430 mls came out at 59%, which was a marked improvement from the 44% (590 mls) that went into the barrel. So, all in all, it spent 2 weeks in a medium char new white American oak cask, and an additional 6 weeks and 2 days in a “bourbon” cask. This is quite a bit less than the 21 years that my “bourbon“/corn whisky spent in the barrel, but there is much more grip and oak on this rye than the other one. Also, the evaporation rate was faster (I did, in fact, move houses during this time), coming to roughly 7.5% per week (compared to 6.5% for the last one). However, these figures are pretty rough.So how did it taste? A lot better than my last one, I think. Here are some tasting notes, along with notes on how the flavour developed. I also rated it, as I would other whiskies (with as little bias as possible).
Nose: Still a touch harsh, with some (beautiful) caramel, a touch of smoke, green tea leaves, a bit creamy, the caramel and brown sugar is quite nice – almost like good, dark maple syrup. Oak is definitely there…still has slightly green rye character throughout, and the black tea, both from the new make- but they very much sit in the background now. A slight mustiness is there, with stewed apricot, and canned peaches. There are a few harsh elements at first…these calm down as it sits. This would be a bit higher if it were not so volatile on the nose (a little like the Stalk and Barrel 1+11 Blend). Much of the off-notes present at 2 weeks were removed over the course of the time in the cask. 25.5/30
Taste: Compared to the previous weeks – more viscous, fuller, bolder, sweeter – with lots more oak (but not too much – nicely balanced). It’s dry and spicy with vanilla, and is reasonably oily, with some manuka honey, hot white pepper – there’s lots going on, it’s complex, and very good. The rye backdrop is still there, too. The bite of spice at the end is great and grows as you sip it. 26/30
Finish: Quite a nice finish! Spicy and sweet! And cleansing, with hot white pepper, vanilla, and lighter honey – not the manuka I found earlier – more like lighter wildflower honey. So spicy! especially as you drink more…I love this as a spice lover. 12.5/15
Conclusion: Much better than my bourbon, I have to say. I quite enjoy this, though it is quite a bit different from most flavour profiles I come across – but this one is very enjoyable. It’s very good…my last cask product I would like to share with friends, but would have to “qualify” it by saying it is my own cask-aged product, and my first one. This one, however, would need no such qualification…17.5/20
Overall: 81.5/95 = 86/100
This is quite a bit better than the 76 I gave to my corn whisky.
So, that’s a job well done! Now I have to find a use for my cask, and see what I can get out of it. Some experiments now with Glen Breton, but, after that, I am contemplating experimenting with a barrel-aged gin.