- 100 Proof
- 4 Years
I have never had any Cream of Kentucky products before. No real reason why, I guess. It's produced by Kentucky Artisan Distillery, headed up by former Four Roses master distiller Jim Rutledge. In fact, he puts his signature right on the front label. However, it tends to be fairly pricey, and while the reviews are generally pretty good, they haven't been so good that I felt the need to run to the store and immediately grab a bottle.
However, they recently released this product, a bottled in bond rye whiskey, for a far more approachable $70. Now, is that over-priced for a four-year whiskey? Yes, it sure is. However, it gave me an opportunity to try a Cream of Kentucky product and see for myself whether or not I like what they're doing. So, I went for it anyway.
On the nose I immediately got sweet and rich notes of chocolate and caramel. There were also some sweet pastry or yeast notes as well, reminding me a bit of a caramel glazed donut. It really did smell incredible, even if a bit on the sweeter end.
Right away on the first sip I got a nice cinnamon spice, and the sweetness certainly came through as well. It manifested itself in a sort of mix of burnt sugar and caramel, which I understand can be a fine line for any candy-maker. There was also a light chocolate note, but not nearly as much as on the nose.
Unfortunately, immediately behind all that I got the overripe apple note that I always associate with too-young whiskey. Rye tends to hold up at younger ages, so I was kind of surprised to get this, but it came across as young and corny and just with that bitter, tangy overripe apple note that just really puts me off. It wasn't as strong as some young craft whiskeys I've had in the past, but it was strong enough that I had a hard time getting past it to enjoy everything else.
Some of those traditional rye notes were still there in the background, however. I did get the usual cinnamon spice, as well as a bit of bright spearmint, particularly on the finish. Some of that chocolate note also came through on the finish as well. But, the sweetness of this whiskey along with that young corn note continued to take over, even after each swallow.
I wanted to love this, but I just did not. It just came across as an overpriced craft whiskey bottled at too young an age. Perhaps their other products stand up better and have more age on them, but this one did not do it for me.