The first whiff is a clean, clear rye, much like the standard Sazerac, which yields to just a touch of fruit mixed in to the rye spice. The flavor is what grabs you right away. There is plenty of rye, but with a sweet, fruity note from the dessert wine, very unlike the sweetness you traditionally get from the corn in rye whiskey. Each sip is a mouthful of contrasting flavors - spicy and sweet, dry and fruity, whiskey and wine in perfect balance. The party continues into the finish. It's hard to believe that the few months this whiskey spent in the wine casks is enough to have such a pronounced influence on its character, but it can't be denied. Great stuff.
This is awesome. Just excellent. Whereas some people might see finishing a rye in a dessert wine barrel as gimmicky -- or even "cheating" -- I don't care. This is genius. A big, bold rye with all the delicious spices you'd expect, along with a big pine-forest aspect to it (big in the nose, and notes in the palate). And the sweetness isn't cloying or annoying, it's well-balanced. We just ordered a case for the club. You better hurry, before we decide to buy the rest!
Given the relatively young age of this stuff, I imagine we may be seeing more things like it in the future. Super.
*Note that if you buy some of this, it needs to open up in the bottle for some time. Or what I do with a whisky like this when I know I'm going to open one for a group of people (and it'll be kicked), the night before I pour out the bottle into a large bowl and cover it with a plate, not airtight. The next day, rebottle it.
Nose reminds me of waffles with hazelnut maple syrup. Light. It's not a strong nose.
So, I'm not a hugre rye go, so I'll try my best to compare this with other ryes. It fare quite welll, quite frankly. Initial taste is a grainy bubblegum. When you let it coat your mouth, the feel is excellent and reminds me the essence of a rye seed. It's as if a seed vaporized in my mouth. If I was to rate this on pure enjoyment (I'm a scotch guy) I'd give it a solid B+. On the rye scale, I'm thinking A-. I understand that Mr. Herz and Ury are fawning over this, but an "A" should put you on your knees begging for more. I'm on my feet... but with an empty glass
N: Quite grassy for a rye, with interesting spice and fruit, sort of like fruitcake. P: The wine cask finish seems to have intensified the rye flavor rather than adding any specific flavor. And thankfully, it's not overly sweet as one might predict. My notes say "It's dirty good". Not sure what I meant by that, use your imagination. F: Dry and sticky.