Nose: Huge and powerful sweet Rye on the initial nosing gives way to cinnamon toasted brioche, leather, and more than a hint of Maraschino cherry. A really huge hit of oak follows, somewhat vinous with it - we were reminded of a barrique aged chardonnay. There’s something slightly medicinal lurking somewhere - a hint of Iodine perhaps? Definitely not out of place amongst the other huge aromas given off by this whiskey though. A slight suggestion of Coconut right at the tail end.
Palate: An initial astringency is surprising after the sweetness of the nose, but it soon becomes clear what the game is here, as under-ripe banana that arrived first is elbowed out of the way by its caramelized, almost Barbequed bigger brother. Astonishing layers of complexity begin to develop.
Finish: As the complexity continues to build, we get hints of cola nut, and a touch of Hazelnut Latte. The spiciness continues right to the death, and the finish seems to go on for ever.
Overall: We’ve had a lot of ryes over the years at Master of Malt, but this is a different beastie entirely. We wouldn’t go as far as to call this whiskey austere, but it’s very definitely a grown-up dram. If you’ve not had the pleasure of sampling an American Whiskey of this age (and very few of us have), this is a very, very good place to start.