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May 2021
ROUNDUP

Manifest Straight Rye

Classification: Straight Rye

Company: Manifest Distilling

Distillery: Manifest Distilling

Release Date: Ongoing

Proof: 100

Age: 2 Years

Mashbill: 60% Rye, 40% Wheat

Color: Mahogany

MSRP: $45 (2021)

Official Website

Nose: Pine | Rye grain | Oak | Youthful grain | Fresh baked bread | Hint of anise | Youthful & effervescent

Palate: Brown sugar | Peppery rye spice | Bundt cake | Caramel | Oak | Syrup | A slurry of sweet & spice

Finish: Rye spice | Leather | Pine sap | Light peppercorn | Hints of caramel | Light & short

When people think of Florida, most think of Disney, oranges, beaches, and seniors. However, one thing that doesn’t readily jump to mind is whiskey. Manifest Distilling is trying to change that mentality. Based in Jacksonville, Manifest Distilling was founded in September 2016 with a focus on organic products when possible. Their Straight Rye is full of typical rye flavors, however due in part to the wheat they mix in, there is a distinct swirl of sweetness found throughout its overall funky sip. Straight Rye seems to be joining a recent trend of youthful but funky ryes that are worth seeking out for those looking to try something new.

The bottle being reviewed is bottle #1165 from Batch 17.

Written By: Jordan
May 3, 2021

Boulder Spirits Bottled in Bond Bourbon

Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Vapor Distillery

Distillery: Vapor Distillery

Release Date: Ongoing

Proof: 100

Age: 4 Years

Mashbill: 51% Corn, 44% Malted Barley, 5% Rye

Color: Medium Amber

MSRP: $60 (2021)

Official Website

Nose: Mango | Papaya | Toasted chestnuts | Caramel | Vanilla | Fruit-forward

Palate: Flash of spice | Toffee | Caramel | Dried fruit | Nicely developed with a rich mouthfeel

Finish: Light rye spice | Caramel | Toasted marshmallows | Toffee | Chocolate fudge | Medium length with a delicate taperaing spice

Distilled in a custom Scottish copper pot still, Boulder Spirits Straight Bourbon is the result of some of Vapor Distillery’s barrels finally reaching four years of age. The bourbon meets the qualifications to be labeled bottled in bond, and the company chose to highlight that fact. Derived from a non-traditional high malted barley mashbill, the bourbon is nicely developed and very easy to sip. It offers a mixture of tropical fruits and malty notes, but doesn’t stray too far from the more traditional caramel-focused bourbon base. It’s both delicious and unique, and succeeds in piquing my interest in tasting the other spirits being produced by Vapor Distillery.

Written By: Nick
May 5, 2021

Boulder Spirits American Single Malt Whiskey

Classification: American Single Malt

Company: Boulder Spirits

Distillery: Vapor Distillery

Release Date: Ongoing

Proof: 92

Age: 2 Years (Website states 3 years)

Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley

Color: Rust

MSRP: $60 (2021)

Official Website

Nose: Peach | Cherry | Raspberry | Plum | Grape | Rustic malt

Palate: Apricot | Malt | Almond | Light vanilla | Mild oak | Crisp

Finish: Toasted cereal grain | Fig | Hazelnut | Mild oak | Simple but effective

Colorado has certainly seen a modern day gold rush of whiskey distilleries. Boulder Spirits distilled at Vapor Distillery in Boulder, Colorado, is first to admit they’re a small distillery, but make up for it with the largest pot still in the state. Their single malt, like you often see with American single malt whiskeys, is aged in new American oak, putting the whiskey distillate front and center and not a second used barrel. This is on display as Boulder Spirits American Single Malt Whiskey is a clean and crisp malt with delicate fruit and floral notes. However, its age keeps from reaching greater heights as it’s lacking overt complexity, and I would like to see additional time in the barrel to develop its depth and texture a bit more. In its current state, it's a snappy malt that is a solid sip, but I hope it has more to offer in the future.

Written By: Eric
May 26, 2021

Rabbit Hole Dareringer

Classification: Straight Bourbon Finished in PX Sherry Casks

Company: Rabbit Hold Distillery

Distillery: Undisclosed

Release Date: Ongoing

Proof: 93

Age: NAS

Mashbill: 68% Corn, 18% Wheat, 14% Malted Barley

Color: Red Amber

MSRP: $80 (2021)

Official Website

Nose: Marmalade | Dried fruit | Cherry | Raspberry | Full & inviting

Palate: Burst of fruit | Cherry | Raspberry | Light oak | Sherry | Caramel | Sweet | Gratifying mouthfeel

Finish: Gradually increasing spice throughout | Wet oak | Cherry | Red grape | Light raisin | Medium-length turning dry towards the end

Dareringer is a straight bourbon that is aged in new toasted and charred oak barrels and then finished in Casknolia Pedro Ximenez Sherry Casks. Batches are relatively small at no more than 15 barrels, however batch numbers are not provided on each bottle. While PX Sherry Cask finished bourbons can be over-the-top, Rabbit Hole manages to deliver a well-balanced experience that’s quite delicious. Dareringer is full of sweet fruit notes, but manages to hold to its bourbon base with flavors of caramel and oak weaving in and out. Moreover, it’s surprisingly full-flavored for the proof which will appeal to a wide audience as it doesn’t taste high proof, but offers a rich character. If you’re a fan of PX Sherry Cask finished bourbons, Dareringer is definitely worth checking out.

Written By: Nick
May 7, 2021

Thirteenth Colony Southern Bourbon Whiskey

Classification: Bourbon

Company: Thirteenth Colony Distilleries

Distillery: Undisclosed

Release Date: Ongoing

Proof: 95

Age: NAS (Website states 4+ years)

Mashbill: 70% Corn, 21% Rye, 9% Malted Barley

Color: Rust

MSRP: $35 (2021)

Official Website

Nose: Cherry | Roasted nuts | Caramel | Rich vanilla | Oak | Light maple | Grassy

Palate: Sweet corn | Vanilla | Caramel | Brown sugar | Faint anise | Pecan

Finish: Hearty pecan | Brown sugar | Oak | Spice

Based in Americus, Georgia, this southern distillery makes a statement at first glace thanks to a bottle design reminiscent of an Old Forester’s Birthday Bourbon bottle or pot stills. But looks will only get you so far. Thankfully the bourbon starts strong with a deliciously nutty and fruity nose. On the palate the bourbon hits all of the classic bourbon notes with satisfying results. Its finish is on the nutty side which is present throughout its nose and palate, yet ramps up this note and becomes the finish’s predominant force. At four years old the bourbon never tastes young or grain forward, but is light and is a bit on the thin side. It's not detrimental to its overall effect, and the whiskey performs well overall. The base components of this whiskey are in place, but some extra aging time and a couple of extra proof points would greatly enhance this bourbon.

Written By: Eric
May 10, 2021

Penelope Bourbon Barrel Strength Batch 5

Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Penelope Bourbon

Distillery: MGP

Release Date: October 1st 2020

Proof: 116

Age: 3 Years (Blend of 3-4 year old bourbons)

Mashbill: 76% Corn, 15% Wheat, 6% Rye, 3% Malted Barley

Color: Yellow Gold

MSRP: $65 (2021)

Official Website

Nose: Corn | Oak | Vanilla | Light classic scents

Palate: Brown sugar | Sweet vanilla | New Oak | Light caramel | Touch of rye spice | Sweet and light with noticeable heat

Finish: Rye spice | Oak | Light leather | Powdered vanilla | Simmering heat and dry oak end the shorter finish

According to the company, Batch 5 is blended from three bourbon mashbills aged 3–4 years in new American oak barrels and completely uncut and non chill-filtered. The resulting bourbon contains classic bourbon flavors that walk hand in hand with the bourbon’s stout 116 proof. The overall sip is approachable and does a good job of hiding the relative youth of the bourbons in the mix. Penelope calls this their “nightcap bourbon,” and for those looking for an affordable easy to sip bourbon, Batch 5 fits the bill.

Written By: Jordan
May 14, 2021

Three Chord Amplify Rye (Batch 0015)

Classification: Blend of Rye Whiskeys

Company: Steel Bending Spirits

Distillery: Sourced (from undisclosed distilleries in Kentucky and Indiana)

Release Date: Ongoing

Proof: 95

Age: NAS (Website states a blend of a 3 year old rye and younger rye)

Mashbill: 95% Rye, 5% Malted Barley

Color: Straw

MSRP: $45 (2021)

Official Website

Nose: Creme brulee | Caramel | Gingerbread | Black pepper | Surprisingly sweet

Palate: Sweet with herbal characteristics | Grassy | Anise | Rye spice | Caramel | Light clove | Youthful

Finish: Tapering spice | Orange peel | Floral | Short to medium-length

Amplify Rye is Three Chord’s signature rye whiskey. It definitely shows signs of youth, but makes up for it with a mixture of interesting flavors that somehow work together. Erring on the sweeter side, its combination of sweet, herbal, fruit, and spice notes explores quite a range. While there is no age statement on the bottle, a little reconnaissance reveals the combination of ryes in the blend are aged three years or less. This explains the whiskey’s youthful underpinnings, but despite the young age it is surprisingly drinkable and complex. With that being said, rounding out the component whiskeys with a little more time in the barrel might help this whiskey reach new heights.

Written By: Nick
May 15, 2021

Manifest 100% Rye Whiskey (Batch 2)

Classification: Rye

Company: Manifest Distilling

Distillery: Manifest Distilling

Release Date: 2020 (Ongoing)

Proof: 100

Age: NAS

Mashbill: 100% Rye

Color: Cinnamon

MSRP: $55 (2021)

Official Website

Nose: Rye grain | Fresh baked bread | Nutty | Delicate

Palate: Apricot | Baking spices | Herbal | Dill | Somewhat youthful

Finish: Rush of peppery spice | Red Hots | Caramel | Leaves a sweet-spicy aftertaste

Manifest Distilling’s 100% Rye complements their Straight Rye, which has a 60% rye, 40% wheat mashbill. The first release of 100% Rye coincided with the distillery’s third anniversary in September 2019, however the whiskey in review is from batch 2 which was released in 2020. I have to give Manifest Distilling credit, as distilling with 100% rye grain is no easy task. Surprisingly, it’s not the spice bomb I was expecting, instead leaning into sweeter notes, and at times is even reminiscent of malty flavors. It is slightly youthful on the palate which might be amplified by an herbal note, but that doesn’t derail the experience. I would love to taste this after a few more years aging, but overall it’s a promising whiskey from a small craft distillery out of Jacksonville, Florida.

Written By: Nick
May 17, 2021

Old Overholt 114 Proof Rye (2020 Release)

Classification: Straight Rye

Company: Beam Suntory

Distillery: Jim Beam Distillery/Old Grand-Dad Distillery

Release Date: October 2020

Proof: 114

Age: 4 Years

Mashbill: Undisclosed

Color: Yellow Gold

MSRP: $30

No Official Website At This Time

Nose: Oak | Light nutiness | Cinnamon spice | Rye spice | Dose of ethanol | Simple and hot

Palate: Oak | Cherry | Fresh baked bread | Tobacco leaf | Dry Leather | Cereal grain | Rye |  Dry earthy notes dominate

Finish: Cereal grain | Dry oak | Leather | Cigar box | Rye spice | Lingering dry notes with simmering spice

Old Overlholt 114 Proof Rye joined Old Overholt 11 Year Rye as one of two limited edition releases for the brand in 2020. Notable is the fact that much like Old Overholt Bottled in Bond, 114 Proof is also four years old, which leads to an interesting comparison. The sip is full of earthy, dry, and spicy notes all layered with varying types of grain flavors. The end result is a sip that’s bold and nuanced, and makes you work to pick out the flavors while you battle the proof. It’s enjoyable and makes you wish that Old Overholt would make this a permanent addition to its lineup, especially for the price.

Written By: Jordan
May 18, 2021

Ranger Creek .36 Texas Bourbon

Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling

Distillery: Ranger Creek Distilling

Release Date: Ongoing

Proof: 96

Age: 2 Years

Mashbill: Undisclosed

Color: Copper

MSRP: $55 (2021)

Official Website

Nose: Youthful grain | New oak | Green peppercorn | Corn | Light vanilla

Palate: Sweet vanilla | Sweet corn | Touch of brown sugar | Baking spice | Hint of caramel | Light & sweet

Finish: Sweet vanilla | Youthful grain | Light oak | Leather | Peppercorn | Sweeter notes that are short and fleeting

Ranger Creek. 36 Bourbon is the distillery’s flagship whiskey. Distilled and aged onsite at the company’s San Antonio distillery, the bourbon uses Texas corn as its base and is aged for a minimum of two years. It’s always interesting tasting whiskey that is distilled in the southern part of the US, where aging barrels undergo more extreme heat changes, in this case the hot summer days of Texas where temperatures can reach 120 degrees. The end result is a whiskey that isn’t shy about displaying its youth, but also weaves sweeter flavors into the mix. It’s a bourbon that clearly will appeal to those who like a youthful flavor profile, however others will most likely prefer to have this bourbon spend more time aging before giving it a go.

Written By: Jordan
May 19, 2021

New England Barrel Company Small Batch Select Bourbon

Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: New England Barrel Company

Distillery: Green River Distilling

Release Date: March 2021

Proof: 117.4

Age: 3 Years and 3 Months

Mashbill: 75% Corn, 21% Rye, 4% Malted Barley

Color: Light Bronze

MSRP: $50 (2021)

Official Website

Nose: Thick caramel | Creme brulee | Tobacco leaf | Smoked oak | Syrup | Slight ethanol | Rich thick scents

Palate: Syrup | Baking spice | Brown sugar | Syrup soaked raisins | Rich spice | Peppercorn | Bold spice & rich flavors

Finish: Vanilla | Syrup | Leather | White peppercorn | Spice | Oak | Grounded & lingering

Sourced bourbon is easy to scoff at, especially with the proliferation of it in the market over the last few years. While much of it is sourced from Indiana or Tennessee, New England Barrel Company takes the road slightly less traveled and sourced from Green River Distilling (formerly OZ Taylor Distillery), in Kentucky. The end result is a bourbon that drinks way higher than its actual age. While only a tad over 3 years old, their Small Batch Bourbon delivers big bold sweet and spicy flavors that pull you back in for more the moment you finish a sip. New England Barrel Company is a good reminder that even when bourbon is on the younger side, whether sourced or not, if it’s good bourbon, the end result can be quite enjoyable.  

The bottle being reviewed comes from Batch # 21-01.

Written By: Jordan
May 20, 2021

Daddy Rack Tennessee Straight Whiskey

Classification: Tennessee Straight Whiskey

Company: Daddy Rack Whiskey Co.

Distillery: Undisclosed

Release Date: Ongoing

Proof: 80

Age: 3 Years

Mashbill: 80% Corn, 10% Rye, 10% Malted Barley

Color: Light Bronze

MSRP: $30 (2021)

Official Website

Nose: Graham cracker | Maple syrup | Caramel custard | Very light

Palate: Maple sugar candy | Creme brulee | Sweet tobacco | Delicate

Finish: Caramel | Maple sugar candy | Light spice | Fades quickly

Located in Columbia, Tennessee, Daddy Rack is a whiskey brand few have probably heard of, though something tells me that will change soon. Their bottle label is sure to draw your attention if you see it on the shelf. The label provides ample detail on the whiskey inside (except for who distills it), and fifty cents from every bottle sold goes to charity CORE, an organization that supports children of restaurant employees. The whiskey inside is a crowd pleaser, and one that any up-and-coming whiskey drinker will absolutely love. Double charcoal mellowing puts it squarely on the sweeter side of the flavor spectrum, and it shows no signs of youth or anything off putting. However, as a more seasoned drinker, the whiskey is just a tad too light for me. I had to chew on it long and carefully to pull out the flavors I did, which are good, but light overall. To that end, I would love to taste this at a higher proof point. Until then, Daddy Rack is a low-priced whiskey that anyone who isn’t looking for a higher proof will really enjoy.

Written By: Nick
May 21, 2021

Nashville Barrel Company Small Batch Rye Whiskey Batch 2

Classification: Rye

Company: Nashville Barrel Company

Distillery: Sourced (From undisclosed distillery[ies] in Indiana)

Release Date: March 2021

Proof: 100

Age: Blend of 4 and 8 Year Rye Whiskeys

Mashbill: 95% Rye, 5% Malted Barley

Color: Dark Gold

MSRP: $60

Official Website

Nose: Summer fruits | Vanilla bean | Cinnamon spice | Light Oak | Creme brulee | Fruit forward with underlying spice

Palate: Peaches and cream | Vanilla | Oak | Leather | White peppercorn | Light rye spice | Fruity with hints of earthiness

Finish: Leather | Dry oak | Vanilla | Peppercorn | Rye spice | Lingering spice & oak

Nashville Barrel company calls their Small Batch Rye Batch 2 “A duet of ryes”, with the end result being a release containing less than 15,000 bottles. Much like Batch 1, many of the similar fruit and spice traits are present, however the fruit flavors are slightly more pronounced in Batch 2’s sip. Even with this added pronunciation of its fruit notes, the rye still nicely balances these traits with more earthy grounded ones. While the price of admission is slightly high for the resulting sip, Nashville Barrel Company is quickly proving that they have the blending skills to put out a consistent product that will easily please anyone who is willing to give it a go.

Written By: Jordan
May 24, 2021

Hudson Valley Excelsior New York Straight Rye

Classification: Straight Rye (Empire Rye)

Company: Coppersea Distilling

Distillery: Coppersea Distilling

Release Date: Ongoing

Proof: 96

Age: 2 Years

Mashbill: 80% Rye, 20% Malted Barley

Color: Bronze

MSRP: $50 (2021)

Official Website

Nose: Orange zest | Fresh wood | Fruit cocktail | Bright & lively opening

Palate: Malty with a caramel base | Anise | Clove | Tobacco

Finish: Flush of rye spice | Savory tobacco | leather | Sugary oak | Long with a malty backend

Excelsior, which comes from New York’s motto meaning “Ever upward,” is made from floor-malted barley, wild fermented in open air tanks, and then distilled by Coppersea Distilling in direct-fired copper pot stills - a technique they refer to as “Heritage methods.” The mashbill is somewhat unusual, containing a high percentage of malted barley, and the flavor profile succeeds in highlighting the best of both grains. While the whiskey is only two years old, it offers a surprisingly well constructed array of flavors, maximizing the effect of barrel aging but also showcasing what must be exceptional distilling by Coppersea, as the qualities of the base grains show through clearly. A fine whiskey, even at a young age.

Written By: Nick
May 28, 2021

Ry3 Whiskey Rum Cask Finish

Classification: Rye Finished in Rum Casks

Company: Phenomenal Spirits

Distillery: Sourced (from undisclosed distilleries in the United States and Canada)

Release Date: Ongoing

Proof: 100

Age: NAS

Mashbill: Undisclosed

Color: Rust

MSRP: $57 (2021)

Official Website

Nose: Straw | Brown sugar | Light molasses | Orange peel | Cinnamon bark | Rye spice

Palate: Caramel | Toffee | Raisinets | Light herbal note | Touch of honey | Surprisingly not overly sweet

Finish: Marzipan | Burnt caramel | Leather | Dark chocolate | Quick drop off of flavors with lingering heat and a touch of dryness

Ry3 Whiskey is created using a blending of three American and Candadian ryes of different mashbills and distillates, before being finished in Ron Izalco rum casks. It’s an intriguing idea  from the Virgina Beach blender Phenomenal Spirits, but ends up having a bit of trouble fully coming together. Using the rum casks to help tie the three different ryes together is crafty and somehow isn’t overpowering in the final product, yet there is just a mishmash of different aspects of the base rye whiskeys that don’t fully congeal into a united form. If you like a bit of chaos in your whiskey to keep you on your toes, Ry3 will provide it. That in and of itself can be fun even before you throw in its rum cask finish, but for those looking for elegance and matured complexity, this is not that. I would imagine Ry3 would work wonders in the right cocktail or hot summer day, but as a sipper, its taste doesn’t quite live up to its concept.

Written By: Eric
May 31, 2021
The samples used for these reviews were provided at no cost courtesy of their respective companies. We thank them for allowing us to review them with no strings attached.
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