Sunday, August 23, 2020

Devils River Rye Whiskey

- $27
- 90 Proof
- Texas

So, in a previous post I told the story of how my father-in-law had tried this rye whiskey and he wanted me to try some, so rather than bring his bottle over to share, he stopped by his store and bought both the Devils River Bourbon and the Rye Whiskey.  As I was lying on my recliner, he walked in the door and unceremoniously dropped both bottles right into my lap. Once I got over the pain, I looked inside the bag to find both bottles, and I thanked him profusely, because, after all, who doesn't like free bourbon?!?

That being said, I was a bit gun shy going into this bottle. I started with the bourbon, and it really did not do a whole lot for me at all. In fact, I quite hated it. But, ryes tend to hold up better at a younger age, and I've always found that trying a rye from a small, craft distiller tends to be a less riskier proposition than trying a young bourbon. And so, with that in mind, I tried my best to keep the bad experience from the bourbon out of mind and tried to enjoy this rye with no prejudice.

From the pop of the cork I noticed that this whiskey actually had a really nice aroma.  Yes, I was still gun shy despite my best efforts, and I was expecting that over-ripe apple that I get from young whiskeys. However, what I got was a healthy amount of cinnamon, like red hots candy, mixed with vanilla.  I also got some black pepper spice that tickled my nostrils (that seems weird just typing it, but you get what I mean). There was some sweet corn notes, showing its youth, but also a light orange peel scent. All in all, it worked pretty well together and I found my self nosing my glass quite a bit.

The flavor lacked some of the sharp or rough edges that I was expecting to get. Granted, that could be due in part to the lower proof, but it came across as soft and inoffensive. It certainly had some typical notes of a young whiskey. I got a slight note of overripe apple that I associate with young whiskeys, but it wasn't a very strong note, and it really didn't detract from the other flavors that were going on.

I got a lot of warm cinnamon and brown sugar notes, like some sort of cookie -- perhaps a chocolate chip cookie, but with cinnamon chips instead of chocolate chips (I may have to try this!).  It also had a light cocoa powder note to it as well, making this somewhat dessert-like, but like a less sweet dessert.

I did get the orange peel, and it actually came across stronger on the palate than on the nose. Along with that I got some nutty notes, like nutmeg and even at times that bitter walnut shell flavor. Perhaps it was kind of a peanut skins note.

Overall, this was actually a pretty decent whiskey, and a far cry better than its bourbon brother. With so many craft whiskeys, they come with a hefty price tag to cover the cost of producing and bottling whiskey, and to turn a profit. I'm not sure how Devils River gets away with it, but the price tag on this bottle is great! At only $27 a bottle, this is well-worth taking a flyer on. It's not the best rye I've ever had, and I don't think anybody would expect that it would be. But, for that price, it's a really good product.

Grade: B

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