Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Masterson's 10-Year Old Straight Rye Whiskey

VITALS:
- $60
- 90 Proof
- 10 Years
- Batch 001

I feel like it's been a while since I've gone away from American whiskies, so when I saw this bottle on sale, a bottle I've eyed for some time, I finally pulled the trigger. While it's a Canadian rye (distilled in Canada but bottled in the United States), it's nonetheless a 10 year, age-stated rye, with a 100% rye mashbill--worth a shot in my book.

Even sitting on the shelf I noticed that it was lighter in color than most whiskies. I feel like you get that greater variance among single malts, but not so much other whiskies. This one is very blonde, however.

On first sip, while the traditional rye spice comes through, what's noticeable is that this rye has a certain maltiness or earthiness to it. It's difficult to place, but it was a flavor that reminded me very much of Speyside Scotches. Eventually that earthiness gave way to the spice, though, in a combination of cinnamon and black pepper, layered over vanilla and almost an evergreen flavor. The cinnamon flavor hit me more as a fake-cinnamon flavor, however, like red hots, and it just didn't seem to really complement everything else going on in this pour.

Although this isn't necessarily high proof, I added a little water to my glass to see what would come of it, and I was pleasantly surprised at a very distinct crisp green apple flavor that came through. Suddenly this was a very fruit-forward whiskey, but yet still with that cinnamon/pepper spice at the back end. Mixing with that apple and spice was a hint of black licorice as well, which seemed to take the place of the vanilla I had noticed previously.

Ultimately, though, I found this whiskey to be somewhat flat and unrewarding. While the various flavors were there, they didn't seem to mingle well, going from one flavor to the next, with no blending of flavors to bridge the contrast. Instead I was left with a whiskey that was fruity, and then it was spicy, and it wasn't really great in either category.

To add to that disappointment, this whiskey seemed to only get worse from pour to pour. With each successive pour, all I could taste was the alcohol, which just shouldn't be the case with a 90 proof whiskey. About four pours into the bottle the acetone increased, and what flavor it had seemed to disappear behind the suddenly present alcohol burn. By the end, it was simply unenjoyable in any manner.

I came into this rye with no expectations, and yet I find myself nonetheless disappointed. What good qualities this rye had at first were gone within the bottle being open just a couple weeks, leaving me with half a bottle of whiskey that I just had no interest in drinking. Even it's oddities as a rye couldn't save it.

Grade: D+

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