Sunday, December 22, 2019

Pinhook Rye Humor Cask Strength Straight Rye Whiskey

- $50
- 114 Proof
- 3 years
- Kentucky

I've been hearing mostly good things about Pinhook and the products they've been making, with only a smattering of negative reviews. It seems their rye has fared even better, with mostly universal acceptance as a "solid pour" among the online bourbon community.

I've had the intent of grabbing a bottle of their regular rye with the bright green wax for quite some time, just to give it a go. But it has always seemed that there's something else I'm more interested in each time I go to the store. However, when I heard of their release of a barrel strength rye, I knew I'd be grabbing it as soon as it appeared on the shelves . . . and so I did.

When I first popped the cork on this bottle, I had a hard time getting past the heavy fuel on the nose. It seemed to just pour out from the top of the bottle and fill the room. Luckily, this dissipated pretty quickly, though, allowing a nice aroma of rich and varying flavors to come through.

Once I was able to get past the alcohol, I got a lot of notes that reminded me of a rich brandy or even a good barleywine. I got some typical pine notes from the rye, but that was mixed with a dark cherry note. It also had a sort of butterscotch sweetness to take it in a different direction. I also got notes of toffee and raisin, giving this a rich and bold nose that I couldn't stop enjoying.

When I took my first sip, I couldn't help but notice the texture. It was this great, smooth and buttery texture, slightly oily, but exactly what I hope for in a whiskey, as that's a sign of a whiskey that's going to coat my mouth in flavor and provide for a nice, long finish. All good things so long as the whiskey tastes good.

The flavors were, for the most part, what I expect from and enjoy about a good rye. Up front I was immediately hit with cinnamon and just a light pine note, enough to notice that it's there, but not enough for it to be a primary flavor.

It had a lot of vanilla, both up front and on the back end. It was on the sweeter side, and it almost reminded me of cake frosting. This worked really well with the hazelnut flavor that came through as well, with all these flavors blending into a nice dessert-like note, but one that is unlike any dessert I've ever had (though I think I'd like to).

However, with all that going on, throughout the bottle I got a note that was distracting and even off-putting at times. The pine note took on a sort of cleaning solution note, like a bit of pine sol. I'd be enjoying a sip, focusing on all the great flavors noted above, and then out of nowhere I'd be hit with Pine Sol, and it was just . . . distracting. I can't think of any other word for it. It was hard to enjoy the great flavors going on with that one note stabbing at me.

Grade: B-

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