Sunday, January 10, 2016

Metze's Select Indiana Straight Bourbon Whiskey 2015 Medley

Over the last few months I've been telling my non-whiskey drinking father-in-law about this company, MGP Ingredients, how this distiller has a vastly different business model than your usual distillery, and the amount of success that the company has seen recently. As a result, he began tracking the company's stock, reading up on its history, and following it in the news. MGP became the topic of numerous discussions between the two of us.

Although he hasn't become any more interested in whiskey, he was more than excited for me to open my Christmas present this year, a bottle of Metze's Select, a small batch bourbon blended by MGP's master distiller, Greg Metze. This limited release bourbon (labeled as the "2015 Medley") is a blend of 38% - 2008 Bourbon (21% rye); 3% - 2006 Bourbon (36% Rye); and 59% - 2008 Bourbon (21% Rye), and was bottled at 93 Proof. The result is certainly a high-rye bourbon, but that puts it in my wheelhouse.

The nose is amazing. It's strong in vanilla and pipe tobacco, sweet and earthy, and easily noticed from a couple feet away. If I were to give an sub-grade to the nose itself, it'd get an A+. I could make candles out of this stuff.

On the palate, the high-rye content lends to a cinnamon-type spice that stands out from beginning to end. You notice it right away on the tip of your tongue, and that spicy bite lingers well after each swallow. It's accompanied by a well-balanced brown sugar sweetness underscored throughout by a strong vanilla flavor. I wouldn't quite call it a "vanilla bomb," but it's approaching that territory.

The bourbon is a bit on the watery side, but yet the flavor lingers seemingly forever, in the way that a more viscous bourbon usually would.

Further into the bottle, the vanilla and cinnamon flavors, though remaining present, gave way a bit to a very noticeable butterscotch flavor that would hang around the back of my throat long after each swallow in such a way that I was quickly reaching for my next sip.

All in all, this is a fantastic whiskey, and I only have two small marks against it. The first is that it's a relatively low proof. Although it is very good at this proof, I couldn't help but wonder just how good this stuff would be at barrel strength, with that added robustness and flavor. Additionally, the price is a bit prohibitive. I realize this was a limited, special release, but considering this is MGP's first retail release, the terms "limited" or "special" are relative and carry little weight. At about $70 per bottle, it's a tough sell, as there are plenty of great bourbons available at a lower cost.

This one was a gift, though, and I enjoyed every sip. I definitely encourage people to at least give it a try and enjoy what Mr. Metze has selected as his signature blend.

Grade: A-

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