- 99 Proof
- 3 Years
- Batch No. 2
This is one of those bottles that I've been looking forward to without actually knowing that I was looking forward to it. I've been following the story of Castle & Key distillery on social media for the past few years, particularly their restoration of the E.H. Taylor distillery. The work they've done is amazing, and it will certainly be a destination the next time I go to Kentucky to do some distillery touring.
But, I wasn't really following their releases. After all, I figured it'd be some time before their stuff was aged enough to put into a bottle, and even more time before I saw distribution to Illinois. But, on one of my stops into a random liquor store, just checking the shelves in case there was something new or different there, I cam across this Restoration Rye. The bottle and label is not only eye-catching, but also impressive. Even the topper carried some heft. At first I didn't even realize what it was, but when I saw it was from Copper & Key, I knew I had to give it a run.
The nose was a bit funky on this one. I got what I could only describe as a wet newspaper smell. It's not a horrible smell, just a bit odd and yet familiar. It certainly had something sweet and crackery to it as well, perhaps like a shortbread. It also had a note that reminded me of rum. It had that sugarcane sweetness to it.
And when I tasted it, it certainly landed on the sweet end of the spectrum. I did get the wafer cookie type note to it, but it also had that cane sugar quality I got on the nose. It even had a touch of molasses to it, to give it a darker, richer sugariness. In this way it reminded me very much of rum finished ryes I've had in the past, though this wasn't rum finished. Unfortunately, I've never been a big fan of rum finishes in whiskey, because they just come across as too sweet for me.
Aside from the sweetness, that cracker quality persisted. At times it was more like shortbread, and at other times it was more plain, like a saltine without the salt. It did have a crisp pine note to it that let you know that it was definitely a rye.
The finish was where the rye spice really stuck out, though. There I got a lot of cinnamon coupled with a touch of anise just to provide that bit of tang or bite. However, that cinnamon spice was still accompanied by the rich, sugary molasses note, and even with the spice finally coming through, this rye just couldn't escape the overt sweetness.
Everything about this rye reminded me of a rum finished rye, from the nose to the flavor to the finish. And yet it wasn't rum finished. It was just a very sweet and sugary rye. Unfortunately, that is not what I go for. However, there are those out there that love those super sweet, rum finished whiskeys, and perhaps this would be for you. Unfortunately, it was just too sugary sweet for me.