- 132.6 Proof
- Min. 2 yrs.
This was an interesting pickup for me. I first noticed this on the shelf due to the label. It seemed very "Scottish" looking to me with the plaid patterns and certainly seemed out of place among all the other ryes on the shelf. Having not recognized anything about the bottle, I passed. But the next time I was in the store, I took a closer look.
This wasn't just some rye from some unknown distillery, but rather it was a store pick from that distiller. Not only that, it was from Minnesota (and actually distilled there)--can't say I've had a Minnesota whiskey before. And most compelling, this was bottled at 132.6 proof! While I haven't gone back through my archives to confirm, I can't recall ever having a rye that came anywhere close to that proof. So, with all that going for it, at $40, I now had no reason not to bring it home.
The nose is heavy on the pine. It immediately reminded me of some of my other favorite, punchy ryes like the Willet Family Estate small batch ryes, Wilderness Trail and Driftless Glen. A good start! Underneath the pine was a healthy amount of vanilla and spearmint. It also had this root beer note as well as a sweet candy bar note to it, like chocolate and caramel. This nose was pungent but full of delicious aromas.
The first three notes I wrote down immediately after my first sip were vanilla, spearmint and root beer. Much like the nose, these flavors absolutely dominated here. The combination was really enjoyable, and I was surprised that there wasn't more of a pine flavor to get in the way--a good surprised. I also had the immediate thought that this was way too easy to drink for its proof. Not only did the pine not get in the way, but the alcohol took a backseat as well.
It had a certain sweet and spicy note to it, and I got a distinct fennel spice to it at times. It wasn't overpowering, but just enough fennel to let you know it's there (and it doesn't take much). That fennel note brought with it those associated notes of anise and black licorice, but again, not enough to turn me off, and I'm not a huge fan of anise.
Other notes seemed to sneak in from time to time, including a grainy bran cereal note. I also got sweet tobacco leaf and molasses from time to time. This really came across as rich, thick and sticky. On what was a really long finish, I got the vanilla and spearmint, but also a semi-sweet butterscotch note that I really enjoyed. This was probably my favorite part of each sip, as it left a sweet and delicious flavor behind, causing me to dive right back in for that next sip.
I'm so glad I tried this. This was an excellent, bold and punchy rye, and it reminded me of why I make myself try stuff I otherwise may not know much about. I'll certainly be keeping an eye out for this brand in the future.