Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Starlight Distillery Huber's Old Rickhouse Binny's Private Select Single Barrel Rye Whiskey Finished in Cognac Casks

- $70
- 111.8 Proof
- 4 1/2 Years
- Barrel No. 22-2043
- Indiana

If you've been in a Binny's recently, I'm sure you've noticed rows of their shelves filled with Starlight Distillery picks. They certainly have an influx at the moment of all sorts of picks, from single barrel bourbons and ryes to whiskeys finished in everything from Bourdeaux to cherry liqueur barrels. In fact, they have so many Starlight picks right now, it's almost paralysis by analysis. There are so many options its hard to pick just one.

But, not being one to miss out, I figured I'd go with my mainstays as far as finished whiskey goes. I tend to enjoy the Cognac and Armagnac finishes, particularly on rye barrels. So, seeing this Cognac finished rye among all the other finishes, I played it safe. I could have gone with something different, but again, I wouldn't know where to start.

The nose really showed off that Cognac influence, hitting me right away with scents of orchard fruits like apple and pear. There was also a certain malty backbone, giving it a sort of bread-like aroma. It also had a light caramel sweetness as well as a light note of rich vanilla. I didn't get much of the rye spice I was expecting, but everything else smelled great!

Right up front the pear note came through on the palate, but it was more of a cooked pear. Here the spice came through, with cinnamon and black pepper notes. It also had that caramelization you get with cooked pears, adding a rich sweetness to the fruity note.

I definitely got that malted note as well. It was somewhat bread-like, but sweet and grainy all at once. There was also a distinct white grape note, which became more and more prominent as I made my way through the bottle. As it became more prominent it took on more of a white wine note, a note which seemed to stick out a bit and didn't seem to play well with everything else going on.

The finish proved to be interesting, with a mix of black pepper, orange peel, honey and walnut. It was spicy, earthy, sweet and citrusy all at once. But, it didn't all seem to go well together. It was almost as if each note was there, sitting in its own respective corner, uninterested in playing with those other flavors.

this Cognac finished rye came across as sweeter than I would have wanted, particularly on later pours, and while the flavors were enjoyable, it just didn't come across as a finished, cohesive whiskey. Rather, it was kind of all over, particularly on the finish.

Grade: B-

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