This is a grown-up whiskey for grown-up drinkers. Not too oaky, it delivers a lot of rye character with real gravitas. It’s a splurge, for sure, but a worthy one if you’re a serious rye devotee looking for something with big, bold, memorable flavor.
Appearance: Warm amber with a watery meniscus
Nose: A blousy burst of dill, mint, salt, and wet paint starts things off on a pickly note, but that’s not the whole story. The nose quickly takes a savory turn, with an understated sweetness – no big, flabby notes of vanilla and caramel here—supported by 18 years worth of taut oak spice. A subtle duskiness, aged cedar, and a gentle floral tone combine to make this smell like a very expensive pencil. With water things get lighter, brighter, and a little phosphoric.
Palate: Dense, sweet, concentrated, a parade of bold flavors: Menthol, dill, licorice, ribbons of salted caramel, brown pumpernickel bread, root beer, clove, nutmeg, and candied citrus all flicker through in rapid succession. The oak is firm and grippy, but thankfully nowhere close to overblown. A welcome brightness emerges in the finish, with tangy white grape and a bitter, minty aftertaste that reminds me of Branca Menta. The mouth feel is on the thin side for its age, so water doesn’t do it any real favors.