Nose is dusty, with cinnamon and nutmeg. Palate is watery-feeling, rather sweet and honeyed, and lightly spiced for a rye, though the rye notes are definitely there. Finish lingers pleasantly at length, with notable heat -- but even the rough edges I enjoy. In fact, I'm having trouble figuring out why I like this as much as I do... but I do. This is good stuff, and at the price, a fantastic buy. One of the best buys on the market today, in fact. B/B+
N: Clean nose with plenty of floral rye up front - a little pepper when you dig in and some slightly piney notes. Very faint cherry note with a little butterscotch far off in the distance. A little grainy, bready presence and some cinammon - definitely has a cinnamon toast body. The nose settles down and reveals a little more wood and peppery presence after a while, with some leathery tones to it as well.
P: Light body. Slightly bitter initially and a thin palate but it opens up quite fast - a little more sweetness present with some light maple syrup, some honey, some nutty toffee notes. Cherries hang out at the far edges of the palate and there's a definite hint of orange zest; heat is there and fairly notable - cinnamon, maybe a bit of cayenne, and some regular black pepper. Slight bitterness to the wood, a bit of black tea tannins. With water it softens the bitterness a bit and gets sweeter, but loses what makes it interesting.
F: Warm but not overbearing. The tannins from the body hang around in a big way, there's wood from the cask and a slightly dry celery root note. It again has a bit of that bready body but not as intensely tied with the cinnamon as before. Rye is quite present on the finish as well.
For a mass-market rye, this is not a bad one at all - and available at a pretty reasonable price (for now). It leans just a bit more bitter than I like but that said it's still a solid whiskey.
The 101 picks right up with a nice, spicy rye nose. The nose is so full of rye spice that it's much closer to LDI or one of the Canadian straight ryes than your typical 51% Kentucky rye. Think pine, brine and the kitchen spice cabinet (you know, that blend of all the spices in there). The palate doesn't disappoint with its rye strength either. It's less sweet than the versions I recall from years past but full of punch. It starts with a big rye hit with a touch of sweetness, gets a bit soapy mid way through and then trails off into a hot rye finish. Water brings out some bitter notes, so I say leave it out.
There's not much complex about this rye but it's got everything you need for a general rye whiskey, and there are few better deals around.