Friday, April 22, 2022

Kentuky Owl, Barrell Seagrass, Old Potrero, Old Pepper; fRYEday night 3

Let’s get through rye samples. Provided by Jeremy and Meghan.

Kentucky Owl Rye, Batch 2, 50.59%
A blend of Kentucky-distilled rye that’s at 11 years old at least in the bottle. Dill and licorice and very ‘rye’ nose with plenty of wood and even a bit of an alcohol kick in there, add some vanilla custard and baking spices. Extremely pleasant palate, this is surprisingly good drinking for me and I’ve made no secret of my dislike to ryes. Lots of wood, nearly bitterly-burnt sugar, vanilla galore, dark toffee. Almost no dill or off-putting notes here. Extremely pleasant aftertaste with more toasted vanilla, rye bread crust and a bit of a dill note that brings back that rye experience. Overall: Fantastic drinker with hardly anything to fault here on the trifecta of nose-palate-aftertaste. This is a small sample and today my palate may be having an off day, but I really like it. Value: Circa $200 in 2018 this is just utterly awful price… I’ve almost choked on my drink when i looked it up.
Score: B+

Barrell Seagrass, 69.97%
Finally a somewhat solid review of Barrell Seagrass, which I briefly tried before and quickly poured down the drain as at the time my palate was just not there for it. At its core it is a blend of American and Canadian rye whiskeys, with each ingredient finished separately in Martinique Rhum, Madeira & apricot brandy barrels. Other than this is super punchy on the alcohol side for the nose… I can certainly smell the apricots here. The palate is pure velvety sweet apricot juice with some rye bitterness notes. The aftertaste is more apricot sweet compote and little bit of mint in the back of my throat. Overall: I was certain it wasn’t really my thing and two times I’ve tried this before this tasted completely awful, bitter and horrible. Yet today it tastes quite fruity and tasty and sweet. Value: This is findable for $90 or less so I’d say decent value for what you get here assuming you like the cask finish, apricots, and rye dill notes.
Score: C+ (Your experience may vary)

– Side-by-Side now between two single casks of malted rye. … Why am I even reviewing these when I said I don’t do repeated reviews… Oh well, a showdown between semi-legendary Old Potrero single cask ryes. I absolutely love Old Potrero malted ryes and even have one bottle squirreled away for a special occasion. Two samples… one from K&L and one from Bitters and Bottles. I’m too lazy to look up the age on these, though in the bottles the B&B sample looked quite darker, not that it really an indicator. The notes below will sometimes be comparing and contrasting each other as opposed to regular one-off reviews. A disclaimer that I like malted ryes from old potrero so I’m certainly biased. Either of these would also be AMAZING if mixed with some good tonic water.

Old Potrero, K&L SiB #9, 61.57
Nose: Red hot bubble gum on the nose. So much intense cinnamon vanilla bubble gum here.
Palate: Malted rye, eucalyptus, burnt rye bread crust. Alcohol punch into the palate. It’s all there.
Aftertaste: Medium. Slightly tartly medicinal with mouth numbing mint mouthwash note… numbs and then numbness fades over time.
Overall: A little too light and a little too cinnamon-forward here. Arguably better of the two… but it’s a tough call that’s based on personal preference.
Score: B (NOT for everyone)

Old Potrero, Bitters & Bottles SiB #22, 64.45%
Nose: Dark caramel dusted with cinnamon on the nose. Quite woody and some intense vanilla notes show up too.
Palate: So. Much. Wood. Bordering on too much, nearly bitter palate. Pine needles galore.
Aftertaste: Dry char on the long aftertaste balanced by malted rye sweetness, spice and more pine notes.
Overall: Rather Pine-y and slightly too bitter, I’d want to argue that this may have spent a little too long in the cask… Yet I still cannot help but enjoy it in it’s own way… Still, imperfections around bittern notes abound.
Score: B- (NOT for everyone)

Old Potrero, Blend of the two above… ~63%
On a lark, I’ve mixed the leftovers of the two above… And… It’s fantastic! The lightness of one balances the bitterness of the other. This is approaching the greatness that is K&L cask #13. https://www.aerin.or … y:entry201115-213721… It’s just great stuff, what a way to wrap up a friday night for me!
Score: A (NOT for everyone)

– End

Old Pepper Rye, Ledger’s / Hard Water Store Pick, Finished in PX, 51.35%
A joint venture between Berkley Ledger’s store and Hard Water restaurant pre-pandemic that ended up in the store because everyone was sitting in place. This sourced (it’s MGP) rye was finished in PX casks and is Barrel #080917-12. You know… I’m being lazy today… Nose is stewed dried figs… Palate is dried stewed figs… Aftertaste is more dried figs with some rye dill notes but the rye is very much on the lighter side. Overall: This is basically fortified Pedro Ximenez sherry with tiny bit of a dill aftertaste. Otherwise it’s basically pure sherry. Solid drinker if you like your rye to taste syrupy-sweet and not like a rye at all. It’s basically a digestive dessert. Value: This was $56 about a year ago when it was still available. No complaining for this particular one, but overall ~$60 for a NAS Old Pepper Rye with zero transparency is about average value.
Score: B-

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