Category Archives: Rye

Stork Club Straight Rye, 45%, Germany, v’s Balcones Rye, 50%, Texas

Some blogs sink without trace – while others gather a bit of traction.

There’s little advance knowledge as to what will – or won’t – capture attention beforehand & it’s often the unexpected that gets results.

Old Grand-Dad was one of them.

Living up to it’s ‘cult’ status a fellow whiskey fan expressed interest in sample swaps.

As I’m sitting on close to 100 opened bottles that will damage my health if I drank the lot – I’m still damaging my wallet by eagerly seeking the next flavour adventure.

My cupboard is always open for exchanges so Old Grand-Dad went one way & a couple of ryes came mine.

2 rye c/othewhiskeynut

I was very pleasantly surprised by the package!

c/oStork Club Distillery

Stork Club Straight Rye, 45%, Germany

My previous encounter with this distillery was back in 2015 when I came across their rather enticingly labelled Sloupisti Single Malt.

Sloupisti Single Malt c/o deutsche-whiskys.de

Sloupisti has undergone both an ownership & rebranding exercise since – resulting in the Stork Club Rye before me.

The nose exuded an earthy, almost farmhouse style of rye.

A very grounded feel to the palate. Rich & vegetal, powerful yet smooth.

A signature dry rye spice finished of proceedings – undoubtedly boosted by the 45% ABV.

Stork Rye c/othewhiskeynut

Using German grown rye & partially aged in German Oak has brought out a rather unique taste of locality & place.

Very enjoyable.

c/oBalcones

Balcones Rye, 50%, Texas

Balcones also briefly entered my sphere with an entertaining sample of their Single Malt Whiskey.

c/oBalcones

This Texas Rye initially offers up a more traditional nose of sweet vanilla & dark caramels.

A rich earthiness – not normally found in US rye – began to make it’s presence felt in a very attractive & enticing way.

For 50% I found Balcones Rye to be full of flavour with a rich warm spiciness on the finish wrapped up with a hint of tobacco too!

Dry yet lip smacking all at the same time.

Using Texas grown rye – along with crystal, chocolate & toasted rye in the mashbill – a melange of unexpected & highly engaging flavours were experienced.

Balcones Rye c/othewhiskeynut

Thoughts

Both these ryes are a delight.

Using mashbills & ingredients not normally encountered elsewhere the range of flavours are boosted adding a richness of depth & complexity I found very alluring.

Both push the rye category forward in new & exciting ways.

Suits me!

Sláinte

Michter’s Whiskey Launch, Dublin, 2019

There’s some whiskey launches I didn’t get round to writing up – Michter’s being one of them.

It’s nothing to do with the quality of the product – nor the hospitality shown on the day – which were both outstanding I must say – other things & life just got in the way.

So in February 2019 a packed crowd of whiskey fans gathered in a Dublin venue to sample the delights of Michter’s Whiskey. Oh those heady days of pre-COVID freedom!

I was already convinced of the marvels of Michter’s having sampled the core range at Whisky Birmingham.

Michter’s Birmingham 2017 c/othewhiskeynut

A brief history of Michter’s served as an introduction.

Originally founded in 1753 & incorporating the Shenk’s & Bomberger’s families too, Michter’s – along with many others – collapsed during the lean years of the 70’s & 80’s.

A couple of entrepreneurs bought the brand names in the 90’s, selected choice casks from distilleries & proceeded to build up a reputation for fine bourbon & rye. This was Phase 1.

Phase 2 started in the early 2000’s. With dwindling stocks of barrels & increased sales a more steady supply was needed. Contract distilling in Kentucky began with specific mashbills, filling percentages, maturation policy & filtration standards all being controlled by Michter’s exacting standards.

Phase 3 is Michter’s producing their own whiskey in their own distilleries. That is currently in play right now – so for the moment – the whiskeys presented to us at the event were from Phase 2.

9 Michter’s awaiting c/othewhiskeynut

Michter’s Straight Rye, 42.4%

Distinctive rye nose, candy sweet & spicy dry. Smooth & easy palate. Decent complexity with long dry peppery spice on the finish.

A solid rye to start the proceedings.

Michter’s Straight Bourbon, 45.7%

Sweet & surprisingly spicy nose. The rye content isn’t too high – the exact ratios weren’t revealed – & it was suggested the spice emanates from the char 3 level virgin oak casks used. Whatever the method – it resulted in a warmth of flavour rounded up by a long peppery spice finish.

Lovely.

Michter’s Sour Mash, 43%

Being neither 51% corn or rye – Sour Mash has a mixed mashbill offering an intriguing sweet & sour nose. Lovely mouthfeel with soft spices & quite a dry finish.

Entertaining.

Michter’s American Whiskey, 41%

Using 2nd fill barrels for maturation & a corn, rye & barley mashbill – American Whiskey cannot be called Bourbon or Rye. Lighter on the palate than the others, there was still a richness of flavour & slight spice which reeled me in.

Alluring.

The above 4 made up the core range – & very engaging they were too! In a divergence from my love of rye – I have to say the combination of rich warm flavours along with a peppery dry spiciness of Straight Bourbon won me over in this group.

But there’s more!

Crowded table c/othewhiskeynut

Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish Straight Bourbon, 45.7%

Part of a limited release range, Toasted Barrel benefits from extra ageing in – no surprises – toasted barrels which impart a slight smokiness to the bourbon. Not a peatiness nor BBQ style however – more a gentle wood fire vibe going on.

Very pleasing.

Then a couple of age statement whiskeys – rare enough for America!

10 Year Old Straight Rye, 47.2%

Great classic rye nose – boosted with more depth & warmth – which flowed through into the palate. Smoother, richer & more complex than before.

A gorgeous rye.

10 Year Old Straight Bourbon, 47.2%

Again this bourbon impressed! A winning combination that just dialled up the overall experience a big notch.

Fabulous.

Yet the goodies kept on coming!

I was particularly looking forward to the next pair from the Legacy Series.

Shenk’s Homestead c/othewhiskeynut

Shenk’s Homestead, 2018, 45.6%

Finished in French Oak Barrels – there was more of a rounded dark fruity sweetness on this one. Very chewy – although the finish fell away a bit quickly.

Luxurious.

Bomberger’s Declarartion c/othewhiskeynut

Bomberger’s Declaration, 2018, 54%

Finished in Chinquapin Oak – a gorgeous dry tannic spice gave wonderful richness & depth to this bottle which immediately propelled it to my top spot!

Stunning.

Such a fabulous showcasing of the Michter’s range & generous hospitality of the brand!

There was much milling around & happy chatting afterwards & I managed a cheeky sampling of the 20 Year Old Straight Bourbon, 57.1%

20yo Michter’s c/othewhiskeynut

Ooops!

Despite being such a rare opportunity – I must admit to finding the dryness & high strength combo being too much for me & obliterating the welcome warmth & engaging flavours of it’s younger stablemates.

So what did I take away from it all?

Well I really enjoyed Michter’s!

Their attention to detail certainly comes through in the fabulous flavours of the range.

For my part, age, high ABV & rye aren’t automatic winners. A combination of elements & ingredients along with careful maturation in varied cask regimes can bring about stunning whiskey.

I wish Michter’s future success with their own distilleries!

Sláinte

DOT Brew, Session Rye Revisited, 4%

I don’t just enjoy a rye whiskey – I’m also partial to rye in beer.

The grain imparts different qualities to the beverages.

In whiskey there’s usually a light sweet aroma, rather dry palate & a gorgeous spiciness to finish.

In beer I loose the spice.

Rye beer c/othewhiskeynut

With this Session Rye from DOT Brew a light sweet & fruity nose kicks things off.

Definitely dry on the palate.

Then fades rather quickly leaving you wanting more!

Back label c/othewhiskeynut

Rye grain is harder to work with – which is probably why it’s use faded over the years.

Makes it all the more enjoyable to savour when it does appear!

Sláinte

Whiskey Sour, a Jack Daniels Mystery, J A Konrath

Crime novels are not my normal fare – but the title pulled me in.

Jack Daniels is the lead detective and yes, she does have a few whiskeys in the course of this fast paced book.

There’s a series of pretty gruesome murders – enough to drive you to drink – touches of comedy & a page turning plot that had me hooked.

2 Jacks c/othewhiskeynut

My number 7 had run out – so Jack’s punchy rye provided the pairing.

A bit of escapism from the COVID crisis.

Sláinte

Shefford Manor, Canadian Rye, 40%

Shefford Manor was a popular drinking den during the prohibition era – at least according to the story on the label of this Canadian Rye.

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Shefford story c/othewhiskeynut

Very pale in colour – even for  ‘Aged 3 Years’.

The aroma was quite dry. Not a lot going on. A bit spirity & young.

Entertaining on the palate though.

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Pleasant rye. c/othewhiskeynut

Candyfloss sweet. A lush mouthwatering spice crept in leaving a prickly finish.

There was a smoothness to the rye. A depth not expected on such a young offering.

A pleasant enough sipper.

Sláinte

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TinCup American Whiskey, 42%

The most Northern point on the Island of Ireland is in what is often known as The South.

To access the political North from here you travel South.

TinCup American Whiskey proudly displays it’s Colorado heritage on the attractively embossed bottle – as well as the marketing story.

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TinCup story. c/othewhiskeynut

The bulk of the whiskey is actually distilled in Indiana – blended & cut with some Colorado single malt & ‘Pure Rocky Mountain Water’.

So now that’s all clear – what was I doing in The North?

Simple really.

The North – being a different jurisdiction – stocks a more comprehensive & varied array of spirits than The South. Always keen to pick up something new & interesting I called in on an Asda supermarket on my travels & bagged this American Whiskey.

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I like it! c/othewhiskeynut

The design is cool – the marketing is slick – it’s reasonably priced – it made my basket.

A rich golden brown hue with that classic candyfloss bourbon sweetness tempered by a sawdusty dry rye aroma greeted me.

The palate was relatively mellow – yet gradually opened up with smooth vanilla & gently growing peppery spices building to a gorgeously drying finish leaving a tingling prickliness dancing away.

I found the overall presentation of this whiskey extremely endearing & enticing.

The whiskey itself suitably matched the marketing.

A lovely combination of rugged rye & smooth bourbon – stories of the past & visions for the future.

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Jess Graber c/othewhiskeynut

I look forward to further exploring developments from Jess Graber, Colorado Whiskey & Proximo Spirits..

Happy Independence Day!

Sláinte

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Black Donkey Double Barrel, Barrel Conditioned Rye Ale, 10%

The COVID pandemic has highlighted the shocking amount of booze I’ve accumulated – as well as the opportunity to enjoy it!

Black Donkey’s Double Barrel was today’s choice.

Wow – it’s lively!

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There she blows! c/othewhiskeynut

Immediately frothing over!

I’d to wait a while before a lovely red hue settled.

Now I know rye can be a temperamental grain to work with in distilling – is it the same for brewing?

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The back page. c/othewhiskeynut

A welcome dry maltiness greeted me offering that sweet biscuity aroma I associate with rye ale.

This followed through on the palate – which wasn’t overly carbonated – before deeper, darker notes of molasses from the whiskey barrel ageing gave an earthy solidity to the lighter rye experience.

Elements of farmhouse saison – which Black Donkey excel in – were evident.

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Savage ales from Black Donkey. c/othewhiskeynut

I’m growing to love barrel aged ryes.

Black Donkey’s Double Barrel certainly hit the right notes for me!

Sláinte

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Fife Whisky Festival 2020

The 2020 Fife Whisky Festival was my 2nd visit to this wonderful show – and it’s 3rd successful outing held in the Corn Exchange building in Fife’s former County Town of Cupar.

My agenda – as always – is to taste as many new whiskies as I could safely manage – using the water stations to rehydrate along the way.

Spotting a newcomer straight away – I wasted no time in getting stuck in.

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Langatun Old Deer, 40%.

My 1st foray into Swiss Whisky – and very good it was too! Nice clean flavours & a lovely long finish. Old Deer is the sherry finished version – I think the peated Old Bear would have been more my style – but it wasn’t available on the day.

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Angel’s Nectar Rich Peat, 46%.

Rich Peat had a more smoky rather than medicinal quality  & was perfectly balanced with some heavier toffee notes. I found the black bottle & design very alluring too.

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Adelphi Dancey Man, Blend, 40%.

The fancy design caught my eye but the liquid inside was a more mediocre affair and failed to excite my palate.

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Holyrood Distillery Smoky & Sweet New Make, 63.5%.

Part of the next generation Scotch Whisky makers & not around for long enough for whisky so a trio of new makes were offered to entertain. Smoky certainly spoke to me with it’s strong powerfulness & drying peat hit. Sweet didn’t captivate me as much.

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Inchdairnie Ryelaw 2yo 59%.

Inchdairnie continue to excite with their mysterious black tent into which you are invited to nose the marvelous mixed grain mash bills including oats, rye & the more traditional barley. Very impressive & innovative. The Ryelaw was young, fresh & spicy with a good body. I can’t wait for future releases from this ground breaking distillery.

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Matugga Golden Rum, 42%.

Rum made a welcome appearance too. Matugga’s Golden Rum had a smoky funk on the nose, a softly smooth palate & a nice warming finish.

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Matugga Mavuno Rum, 46%.

The innovative aging in Acacia Casks has added a lip smacking dry spiciness to the soft funk. Lovely stuff!

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Cardrona Just Hatched, 64.4%.

All the way from New Zealand came this youthful yet powerfully flavored cask strength single malt. One to look out for.

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James Eadie, Cameronbridge 22yo, Marsala cask, 59.6%.

Stopping by the James Eadie stall to congratulate them on their Trade Mark X Blend. 45.6% enjoyed previously here led onto a wider tasting.

The Cameronbridge was the aptly chosen Fife Whisky Show exclusive – although I found it a bit too sweet for my palate.

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The BenRinnes 11yo Sherry Cask, 59.9% was of similar style.

Meanwhile Caol Ila 9yo, 46% won me over with it’s soft peatiniess & dark fruits.

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Lady Of The Glen, North British 26yo, 49.2%.

Obviously an exclusively bourbon cask matured grain suited me better as I enjoyed the combination of vanillas & woody tannins in this attractively bottled offering.

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Old Perth, Sherry Cask, 43.7%.

This revived blend comes in a variety of styles. Despite not being a favourite finish of mine Old Perth had great flavour that would encourage me to try out the others.

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Kirkwall Bay, 46%.

Independent bottlers Morrison & Mackay release this delightfully dry smoky blended malt.

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Tullibardine 15, 43%.

I’d only recently visited this often overlooked distillery & was pleasantly surprised by the attractiveness & enjoyability of their blended & single malt portfolio. This 15 year old only further cemented my appreciation of this hard working distillery.

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Penderyn Peated 46%.

Penderyn had a large presence at the show. Only when being poured their Peated Gold Range product did I notice the bottle sported angular ‘sides’ with etched lettering. A lovely little attention to detail that matched the attractiveness of the liquid inside.

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Rhiannon, 46%.

I didn’t realize Penderyn’s Icon Of Wales series was still going strong after my happy encounter with the 1st Red Flag release here. Rhiannon is the 7th offering and very attractively labelled too – although she didn’t quite win my palate over.

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Royal Welsh Whisky, 43%.

Modeled on an unearthed original Welsh Whisky bottle from the Frongoch Distillery this Icon Of Wales No 6 was much more up my street. A delightfully balanced peat smoke with heavier, dark fruity notes.

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Daftmill 2007 Winter Batch, 46%.

It wouldn’t be a Fife Whisky Festival without the highly esteemed local distillery.  I’d only sampled straight from the cask before when on a visit prior to their whisky being released here. Now was my chance to sample the finished product. A very finely balanced, even well cultured bourbon cask matured malt with depth & complexity.

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Kilkerran Heavily Peated Batch 2, 60.9%.

Sometimes I just love a bold, brash & youthful ‘in yer face’ kind of whisky. Heavily Peated provided that in bucketloads. Gorgeous.

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Kilkerran Heavily Peated Batch 3, 60.9%.

An as yet unreleased slightly older version of Batch 2. This possessed a more balanced peat hit contrasting with the underlying biscuity malt & sweet vanillas from the bourbon casks. Even more gorgeous.

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Nikka Days, 40%.

After discovering the delights of Nikka From The Barrel on my London walkabout here – the garish label of Days pulled me in. I wasn’t disappointed. A fine blend offering rich vanillas & fruitiness with a hint of smoke from some Yoichi malt.

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A group of merry imbibers shared the  last stall & we partook of a Nikka Coffey Grain, 45%.

I found the whisky an apt dram to raise a final glass.

We toasted another fabulously organized Fife Whisky Show.

I toasted the enduring legacy of Irishman Aeneas Coffey to the modern whisky industry.

And we toasted the return of the show in 2021.

Sláinte

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Dawn Of The Red, Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Red Rye, 9.4%

Did I ever mention I liked a rye?

Well it’s making a welcome appearance in the beer world too.

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Packs a punch! c/othewhiskeynut

Wicklow Wolf‘s Dawn Of The Red is one example.

The rye element is more fruity – wholesome in a saison type way – with a kind of biscuity malt note to it in a beer – in contrast to the dry peppery spice I expect in a whiskey.

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Exceptional indeed! c/othewhiskeynut

Wicklow Wolf’s  Imperial Rye is surprisingly refreshing & light in comparison to the heavier stout style normally associated with barrel aged beers.

There’s still those sweet treacly undertones – just to remind you this is a high strength ale – but with a top layer of dark fruitiness.

It went down very well with me!

Sláinte

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Wild Fields Original, Polish Whisky, 44%

Aaahhhhhhhhhh!

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Damn! c/othewhiskeynut

That’s never happened to me before!

Nor have I had Polish Whisky either – but then this is no ordinary whisky.

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Polish Whisky in a Tuath Glass c/othewhiskeynut

It’s a rye whisky – which I love.

So I was ever so happy a work colleague brought it back after a trip to see the folks.

It’s also non chill filtered, presented at natural colour, is distilled using Polish rye & is matured in Polish oak.

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Back label info c/othewhiskeynut

Touch of unique terroir going on there!

But what of the taste?

Well the nose was a bit earthy – like a mossy wood – with that signature rye spice hiding in the bushes.

The palate started off smoothly.

There’s a hint of gentle fire, sweet vanilla & that green mossiness slowly dries out as the sun shines in with a gloriously rich dry peppery spice building to the finish. Leaving a lovely prickly tingling fading away on a floral bed.

Quite a straightforward rye – with an unusual & unique flavour profile.

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The producer. c/othewhiskeynut

There’s no mention of what was previously in the polish oak barrels – but they’re toasted – & if virgin oak – it would certainly accentuate the warm spiciness I enjoyed.

Very intriguing!

Na zdrowie.

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