Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Oppidan Cane + Rye Straight Malted Rye Whiskey Finished in Caribbean Rum Barrels

- $45
- 101 Proof
- 1 Year, 9 mos.; Finished for 1 1/2 years
- Batch No. 1
- Illinois

This is a bottle that came highly recommended to me. My local liquor store guy had tried Oppidan's products at a whiskey festival and he couldn't say enough great things about this local distillery from Wheeling, Illinois. While my guy's palate doesn't always coincide with mine, given his insistence, I had to give this a try.

This is a straight 100% malted rye whiskey that was then finished in Caribbean Rum casks for a year and a half. That's more than enough time to allow those barrels to impart the flavors of the rum they previously held. And in some respects, perhaps too much time.

The nose is incredibly sweet, which was not expected, with a health dose of cooked sugar. However, it also had vibrant notes of apricot and banana, which worked particularly well with the burnt caramel notes. It also had a certain bready quality to it, as well as hints of tobacco leaf, but those sweet fruits remained front and center. It also had a slight overripe apple note that I've always noticed in young whiskeys, showing its age (or lack thereof).

As soon as it hit my tongue all I could think was how sweet and sugary this was. It was, quite frankly too much. While I felt like I enjoyed it a bit more than the Angel's Envy rye, I nonetheless found it to be cloyingly sweet, to the point that it seemed to overshadow anything else that was going on in this whiskey.

Eventually some of the rye spice slowly made its way in, but too slowly for my taste. I like rye because it tends to smack you in the mouth with flavor and spice. This was almost afraid of being a rye. In addition to that subtle cinnamon spice that slowly made its way forward, I got a light pine note which seemed to only come through on the back end.

As I worked my way through the bottle, though, those pine and cinnamon flavors seemed to meld together, leaving this to be nothing more than sugar wood. That's all I got was oak and burnt sugar, and the fruit notes from the nose, which were so bright and delicious, never made their way into the flavor. And so, it was just sugar wood.

In retrospect, it's probably unfair to Oppidan that I chose this as my first foray into their whiskey. I have yet to get on board with rum finished whiskeys. I was really not a fan of the Angel's Envy rye, and I knew going in that that the odds of my enjoying this were slim.  This is, however, yet another reason to ignore whiskey reviews and try it out for yourself, because while I was not a fan, my local guy, who is a huge whiskey lover, couldn't get enough of this stuff. It's all a matter of preference

Grade: B-

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