Thursday, April 6, 2023

Smoke Wagon Malted Straight Rye Whiskey

- $90
- 119.54 Proof
- Batch No. 26
- Indiana

I have certainly been a fan of Smoke Wagon ever since they came onto the scene.  It started with the Desert Jewel release, which was absolutely fantastic. From there I tried the Uncut & Unfiltered Bourbon as well as the Small Batch Bourbon, and I really enjoyed those as well.  Generally speaking, their bourbons have been fantastic and I've encouraged many a drinker to give them a try.

Being the rye guy that I am, I was naturally excited when Nevada Distilling began releasing Smoke Wagon ryes. They released some experimental ryes, but I wasn't willing to pay the price that those were commanding (just south of $300 if I can recall correctly).  But, the Bottled-in-Bond Rye and this Malted Straight Rye were at least a bit more approachable in price, though, admittedly, even the $90 price tag on this one is a bit steep.  But, I really wanted to give it a try, so in my cart it went.

The very first note that I jotted down in my Notes app when I brought this to my nose was "weird smell." Right up front I got pine nuts and black pepper. But, there was something mossy to it, almost damp smelling, like walking through a forest after a few days of rain. That wouldn't be so bad, but I also got a bit of a nail polish remover smell that really put me off.  I was not a fan of the nose on this one at all.

As to flavor, luckily that nail polish remover note wasn't there at all. There was, however, that pine note, along with a bit of a malt note, almost like there was a some Scotch blended in.  I guess that's not too surprising given the mashbill of 51% rye and 49% malted barley. That pine and malt, however, was mixed with something sweet, kind of like a maple syrup but not quite as sugary. This, again, was weird in that it kind of worked and kind of didn't.

On the finish I got a spicy and sweet cinnamon note, kind of like a cinnamon schnapps (taking me back to the days when it was fun to drink Goldschlager--I shudder at the thought now).  The maple syrup persisted as well, giving it that sweet and spicy profile.  In a weird way (apparently weird is the theme here), I kind of liked the finish.  The damp, mossy note went away, and even the pine notes faded letting the rye notes finally shine through. 

But, by the time I got to the finish, it was a bit too late. While it did get progressively better from nose to finish, in the end this just came across as, you guessed it, weird, and I certainly didn't feel it warranted the $90 price point.

Grade: C-

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