Friday, February 12, 2021

Catoctin Creek, Wright & Brown, Mammoth, SAOS, Handy BTAC’20 fRYEday night is fun night

Catoctin Creek Rye, D&M SP, 56.9%
Something certainly unique… A 100% Virginia Rye mash bill, aged for one year in a 30 gallon barrel then finished for 7 months in a Cabernet cask. Bottled at full proof as store pick… A little red-winey and very spicy, Sandalwood, cherries, red fruits, cloves and baking spices, reasonably alcohol-forward. The palate is fiery with alcohol and super spicy. It really hits hard with the baking spice, that is thankfully followed and augmented by the red wine fruits. The aftertaste is nice and long with spices and Cabernet influence mixing together. With water, it becomes a much smoother, drinkable, and enjoyable experience. This is going to be amazing mix for manhattans as the spice, alcohol and palate line up perfectly with manhattan profile. Adding water makes it really tasty, undiluted this is… too much. Just want to mention that essentially for a year and a half old whiskey… I wouldn’t have ever guessed that this is a young drink. Yes, it’s not super complex but that is mostly masked by the Cabernet finish. Definitely not worth its ~$100 MSRP, this certainly subverts expectations on required age for whiskey to acquire deep flavor. Just don’t have any specific expectations coming into this…
Mark covers this in depth: https://the-right-sp … l-select-rye-whisky/
Score: C+

Wright & Brown Rye, Batch 003, 45%
Previously covered here: https://www.aerin.or … y:entry191220-085943, but I figured I’ll re-visit with a more formal write-up. … You know what? I’m not going to bother with full write up. It’s a good whiskey. Spiced apricots and rye bread galore across the board, this is somewhere between bourbon and rye. Super flavorful even for its relatively low proof among full-flavored whiskeys. Enjoyable, highly drinkable, great for @work drinking as mentioned and would do fantastic in any rye drink.
Score: B

Mammoth Distilling Rye, 16 Prav Saraff Pick, 64%
Here we have a single barrel Canadian Rye, that spent 13 years in Canada and additional 3 years of aging in Michigan, totaling 16 years old. A single cask pick by Prav Saraff he seems to prefer woodier palate profiles. Lets try it… On the nose, cologne and wood, reasonably dry. The dryness continues on the palate, for being colored like dried grass this is very woody almost to the point of being slightly bitter at full proof. The alcohol is quite strong too with little to hide behind in terms of profile. Water opens it up quite a bit and scales the bitter notes back to make this reasonably pleasant, if still woody, malted rye profile with relevant sweetness and bread notes. Still on the lighter side of the rye spectrum for sure this doesn’t overwhelm anymore after some H2O. Don’t be afraid to add water to it… at full proof it’s not quite there but it is quite decent after being watered down. Not my favorite by any means, this is reasonably drinkable and enjoyable on the woody-light side of rye flavors, but perhaps still too bitter for some.
Score: C+

Smooth Ambler Old Scout 4 Year Old Indiana Rye, 58.9%
A SAOS single cask MPG rye from 2020… As with SAOS bourbon picks in 2020 these are going to be mostly on the spicy-lighter side of things. On the nose woody eucalyptus and rye bread notes with some alcohol coming through. The palate as expected, MGP spicy, woody and bready a little bit. After repeated sips the palate becomes slightly bitter with rye sweetness fighting with woody bitterness. At the same time, the wood isn’t actually that prominent aside from the primary palate notes. Aftertaste is a bit sour-bitter with more rye and woody flavors of medium length but fades pretty fast into secondary and tertiary pleasant aftertaste notes. Adding water and making it sit for a few minutes… The palate sweetness and bitterness snap into place with additional subtle and interesting rye flavors coming out. Water is yet again recommended as seems to be a case for a lot of higher proof ryes.
Score: B (/w water)

Thomas H. Handy Rye 2020, BTAC, 64.5%
A little treat to myself in a second BTAC sample I’ve ever had, and this time it is a rye. The nose is supremely deep, like walking through a forest or a bread bakery and among the best I’ve encountered. Lots of woody, earthy notes together with rye breadiness with some yeasty salinity… Anyways, nose is complex and I can spend a long time sniffing this. It doesn’t get better than this in bourbon/rye land. The palate is fiery, with cinnamon, light cherry, and wood dominating. Amazing aftertaste that cascades down for a long time into sweet caramel, nutty, woody, warm deliciousness. With a tiny bit of water to tone down the fire… It is now an overwhelming and reasonably balanced flavor bomb. Almost approaching Beam stuff on the cinnamon side of things this is … delicious overall, although slightly too woody for me. Right on the edge of perfect marks this is just a smidge off perfection. Interestly enough, tasted blind, it’s really hard to call this out as a rye as it tastes more like a high rye bourbon instead… If you have a chance to taste or buy a bottle of it at any reasonable price it is totally worth it. On the secondary pricing, as is the case with every BTAC, it is a non-starter at anything above $300 or so. Flavor intensity and depth are top-tier but there’s only so much performance that can be had out of a single bottle. BTAC bottles’ secondary prices are primarily for the prestige of having them rather than the actual value.
Score: A- (At any reasonable price)

Scoring Breakdown: https://www.aerin.or … age=scores_breakdown