Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Uncle Nearest Straight Rye Whiskey

- $65
- 100 Proof
- 4 years
- Canada

I was fairly excited to try the newest rye product coming from Uncle Nearest.  I've been hit or miss on some of their other products, but I do love rye. So, I was eager to give this a try, figuring at the very least I'd like to see what Uncle Nearest can do with something other than bourbon.

As soon as I saw it on hit the shelves in my area I grabbed a bottle to come home with me. I popped it open and was immediately taken back by the nose, not necessarily because it was bad but because it was unexpected. I got a very strong caramel apple note right from the start, almost as though I had just opened up and bitten into one of those pre-packaged caramel apples. It also had a bit of nutmeg on the nose, as well as some black pepper. I certainly wasn't getting the typical rye notes I'm used to, but I was looking forward to that first pour. 

However, the flavor on this one didn't hold up its end of the bargain. It came across as very weird to me. The caramel notes from the nose took a back seat and the green apple note came right to the front. It had that typical flavor I get with young bourbons, what I've described in the past as an over-ripe apple note. That was paired with a sort of candy corn note, and the two just didn't work together.

This was just strange to me, so I inspected the bottle a bit more closely only to learn that this rye was sourced from Canada. I was completely duped, figuring I was getting a rye, albeit a younger rye, that was actually made by Uncle Nearest. That's one me for not reading up on this a bit more before buying, but at the very least it explained why I was getting such an odd flavor profile and just wasn't really enjoying it.

I decided to try decanting it, so after the first couple of glasses I poured the remainder of the bottle into a glass decanter, hoping that maybe a bit of oxygen would open this up a bit. And to some extent it did. I started to pull other flavors, including some rich caramel notes and even a dried apricot note.

However, what never seemed to go away was that green apple note that just stood out among and apart from the other flavors. I couldn't escape it.  I also got a lot more brown sugar, a note that I typically associate with Canadian whiskeys.

What I didn't get was any spice whatsoever, though, and to me, what's the point of drinking a rye then? This was an overly sweet mess, which tasted young and lacked any of the rye qualities that make me want to drink rye in the first place. Other than an enjoyable nose, I found minimal enjoyment in finishing this bottle.

Grade: C-

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