Yee haw!! Wednesday 4th July saw a merry band of tweeters take part in the Maverick Drinks tweet tasting to celebrate Independence Day… this was going to be an epic journey in to some American Whiskies.
I’ll firstly admit that when I am at festivals I tend to shy away from rye whiskey… something in me thought these wouldn’t please my palate as I am sure I had tried some in the past and wasn’t too impressed.
The line up was in this order:
nydistilling Ragtime Rye
widow_jane Straight Bourbon
smoothambler Contradiction Bourbon
balconeswhisky Texas Single Malt
Ragtime Rye, on the nose, initial honey I got has died down, bit of clove or something, just a feint wisp… definitely some spiciness. A lot of sticky sugar at the start.
The palate delivered rich fruity red cherry (and a hint of flavour like you’ve been sucking an old recipe cherry Tunes) lovely warmth from spices, woody flavours on the palate too.Quite a warmth on the finish, burnt sugar and that hint of cherries remaining.
(To explain, when I say cherry Tunes, I don’t mean that it is like I am sucking on one. It is more the flavour of one like you’d had one twenty minutes or so ago… a suggestion of that flavour…)
Next to try was FEW Rye Whiskey: on the nose, fresh line dried washing right upon opening (must have all sniffed that?) Honey, quite earthy and spicy, and some leather and vanilla… kinda getting softer aromas on the senses as it opens.
On the palate, spicy again, dark sugar, some cherry and slightly viscose mouthfeel. And the finish, slightly dry, nice wood flavours (we all know I like a bit of wood on the palate) sweet fruitiness too.
Then we moved on to Widow Jane Straight Bourbon – 10 year old, 45.5% just had a look at their website… “As great whiskey distillers throughout the world — from Kentucky to Scotland — have long known, it takes sweet water from tough rock to make great whiskey. And, that’s what Widow Jane Whiskey is all about”.
The nose: cherry tunes… big time. Feint hint of menthol too. Cinnamon sprinkles. Maybe some caramel. Letting it open I was getting a bit more caramel now. Quite “juicy” apple as it opens… (we share the same name, well Jane is my middle name.)The palate was smooth mouthfeel, yep cherry goodness again, slightly waxy / oily feel. Juicy red delicious apples… bitter tea (black tea (over stewed)) which normally I don’t like (light tea is my thing if I drink it.)
Next up on our journey was Smooth Ambler Contradiction Bourbon. The nose delivered a little nutty note right at the start, think Mr Toms…and sweet, sweet sugar and spice.
Quite nail varnishy on the start (again, not a bad thing) but that’s settled down… dusty Cadbury’s hot chocolate powder.
And the palate? Feint hints of cherry again. Slight oily nutty flavour, warming.
The last sample of the evening was Balcones Whisky Texas Single Malt initially a big fruity sweet suggestion with some cream. Something a little nutty about it. Caramel and spicy. The palate is fruity. Is it banana? Well maybe if it’s a sticky sugar coated one cooked till it’s turning to caramel… slight burnt sugariness to this.
Tasting done, tweets posted and interactions made the tasting drew to a close, this was an interesting one for me as I said earlier. I finished with this thought “well for me, being the one who normally avoids rye whiskey etc., it’s been a palate pleasing eye opener”. I think you know what I mean…? If I had to pick, I think the Widow Jane Bourbon and Smooth Ambler Contradiction followed by the Ragtime Rye.
It’s all a journey after all…new tastes and experiences around every corner 🙂
Huge thanks to Steve and Maverick Drinks for including me in this tasting.