This tasting is the second one derived from the bottle swap of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. As you might have read in my note published earlier this week it is all about American Whiskey’s. This one in particular is a Straight Rye Whiskey meaning that it is distilled from at least 51% Rye instead of at least 51% Corn for Bourbon. It will be my first Rye I ever tasted (There will be one more soon, the Sazarac 18 from the same Collection). This particular Thomas is bottled in 2010 and supposed to be around 6 years old. It is bottled at a considerable high abv of 63,45% so I might have to dilute the dram with some water. The glass is a standard Libbey nosing glass. The colour of the dram is a nice mid amber.
Nose: Just after opening the bottle you will immediate a very different smell comparing it to a bourbon. It has less sweetness on the nose. The rye is definitely spicier. It is quite difficult to nose because you have to be careful for the alcohol. After a few times swinging my nose around the edge of the glass I am getting more pepper (probably more the white ones) blended together with some citrusy flavours (lemon/lime/red orange). The sweetness of the corn is around but somewhat on the background. By adding some water you will get more of the citrus flavours combined with some sugary/caramel like hints.
Taste: Taking a sip without diluting it surprised me. It is relatively easy to maintain in your mouth and let it dilute with your saliva. It is quite peppery spicy but the sweetness gives it a great balance. The undiluted taste puzzles me. There is so much going on every time you take a sip. Getting some minty flavour next to again a red orange. It has a very robust and very warming taste. Diluting the dram with water is turning the dram into a sweeter one; the pepper is giving up very quickly. While I favour a more peppery taste I probably won’t be diluting it again.
Finish: Long and drying. The taste keeps your senses busy for quite a while. Due to the high alcohol content your mouth will be getting seriously dry, tempting you to take another sip. Regarding to what is already found in this dram it finishes with some sugar and juicy citrus, getting somehow Muscat grapes. Due to adding water it is still warming in your mouth but seriously less dry. The finish keeps it balance and stays quite long (somewhat shorter but not much).
Balance: Greatly balanced still discovering more and more. A dram to enjoy for a long time. This is more of my liking then the bourbons I have tasted so far. I am not sure if I ever can explain in writing what I am experiencing taste wise right now. But let s try by adding some water and start over again. The balance gets a little bit disturbed by adding water, the corn is getting stronger. In my experience tonight I won’t be diluting it again for the next time I will finish the sample.
Conclusion: This is a difficult one. It is my first Rye so I have no comparison. But I can honestly say that this dram puzzles me and has surprised me. It is not very cheap and again scarce in the Netherlands and I have to taste some more samples of this Collection, but at this time I would seriously be thinking of buying one.
Points: Again difficult but: Solid 90 points! available at Master of Malt