Age: 3 years
Distillery: Castle & Key
Nose: Black pepper, clove, butterscotch, fresh cedar, cinnamon sugar, black tea, bright floral, fresh mint, orange peel, heavy charred oak.
Taste: Tannic/thick mouthfeel. Toasted brown sugar, fresh orange peel, bitter charred oak, fresh mint, licorice, rye bread, earthy/floral grain, coffee grounds, pipe tobacco, light fruit, burnt vanilla.
Finish: Looooong length. Brown sugar and citrus hit the initial front of the palate, turning into clove and cinnamon sugar. Bright grain, mint, and tea take over, before ending with bold leather, oak, and a slight hint of burnt vanilla.
This finish is up and down, but the sweet notes balance the harsh grain and wood spiced notes very well – especially at this proof!
Overall: for $68 on a three year old rye – there is a lot of “ask” so to speak. C&K have had mixed reviews on their products, but I solely believe it is due to the hype train.
This is an amazing example of what a younger cask strength rye should be! Tons of earthy rye notes, with sweet fruit and dessert spice, and some tobacco to blend it all in. I love a good tobacco note – which is why anytime I pick up that funky, musty earthiness that reminds me of the old barn I used to play in with my old punk band, it gets an extra point from me.
Yes, you can get a plethora of other cask strength rye whiskies out there for this price, but 90% of them are MGP (nothing wrong with that) and aren’t any different than the next. This is C&K’s own distillate, it is delicious at a high proof, and I can accept the higher price tag because it’s supporting small/local and is one of the best things I’ve ever had distilled from there.
I’m probably rating the value too high for most, but I would put this at top 10 cask strength rye whiskies I’ve had in the last few years.