Saturday, January 18, 2020

Limestone Branch Gallenstein's Selection Single Barrel Rye Whiskey - Barrel No. 148

VITALS:
- $25 (.375 ml)
- 94 Proof
- 13 mos.
- Barrel No. 148
- Kentucky

A while back a good friend of mine took a trip to Cincinnati, and while there he ventured across the river to see what goodies awaited at the Liquor City in Covington. I remember I was doing yard work when he started sending me pictures of bottles, ones that he and I haven't seen here. He sent some photos of bottles I'd been wanting to get my hands on, and then he sent me a picture of this bottle.

I had no clue what exactly it was. I didn't realize that Limestone Branch even had single barrel rye offerings, or that it was making a 100% malted rye. I was also very skeptical given the age -- very clearly stated that it was aged for only 13 months.  How good could it really be? In the end, though, for only $25, I was more than willing to just find out for myself.

This was one of the most unique, interesting and weird whiskeys I think I've ever had, but I enjoyed every bit of it. On the nose the first thing I noticed was a distinct marshmallow note. Not toasted marshmallows, just marshmallows right out of the bag. That was mixed with a bit of oak as well. At the same time, though, it also had a sweet spearmint note to it, like a chewing gum flavor. This lended to a slight toothpaste quality. Again, odd but good.

The flavor threw me off even more. Given that it was only aged for 13 months, I really expected it to come across as young and bitter, perhaps that rotten apple flavor I tend to get from young whiskeys. I didn't get that at all, but I also didn't get whiskey notes by any stretch. In fact, I took that first sip and the first word out of my mouth was, "Whoa!" I looked across at my buddy who was trying this with me, and he had the same reaction.

This was a very fruit forward whiskey, but not dark fruits or even stone fruits that I tend to get from whiskey. Rather, it was full of very bright fruit notes. I was getting raspberry, but also notes of kiwi and honeydew, flavors I've never gotten in any whiskey before. They weren't bitter at all, nor were they overly sweet. They were very much in line with fresh fruit notes. I couldn't get over how bright and vibrant and delicious these flavors were.

These bright fruit notes seemed to be followed by a burnt sugar note that carried with it some mild cinnamon notes. It didn't really make it spicy, just added that layer of flavor. Similar to the nose, I also noticed a sort of spearmint/peppermint flavor blended with vanilla, like a wintergreen Lifesaver. There was also a light, smokey flavor always in the background, but nothing close enough to put someone off who doesn't like peaty Scotches, for instance.

Overall, I loved this whiskey. I was floored at how much flavor and complexity it had after only 13 months of aging. I was even more shocked at the fact that I got notes of kiwi and honeydew throughout, something I've never noticed in a whiskey before, and the fact that as weird as it sounds it was really delicious.  I won't see this bottle again, I'm sure, but this was the most fun bottle I've had in a long time.

Grade: A

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