Craft distilleries are a lot of fun. Sure, there are folks out there who only drink the stuff from the legacy distilleries, but in my opinion, they're cheating themselves. Craft has so much to offer, there are so many different approaches these distillers take. Granted, some leave you wondering what the heck they were thinking, and others make you wonder what sort of genius they are.
Then, you get into experiments. These are often curiosities by the distillers. Even the big boys do this (most notably Harlan Wheatley of Buffalo Trace). If they turn out well, they get released to consumers. If they don't, well, who knows what the heck happens.
Today I'm reviewing Twisted Path Distillery's Bottled-in-Bond Rye. What's that? You've never heard of Twisted Path? Allow me to introduce it to you. It started in 2013 by distiller Brian Sammons. He's got an interesting past: He worked for the CIA and Department of Defense. He earned a law degree. Then he got into distilling and taught himself the trade. Twisted Path is located in Milwaukee, and its philosophy is Life is too short to follow someone else's path. We believe in following your passion. We built a small distillery in Milwaukee, where we make organic spirits from scratch. In life and in making our spirits, we're sometimes traditional and sometimes innovative. We follow our own path. We hope you enjoy the result.
The Bottled-in-Bond Rye is an experimental release. This is the fourth batch and the only one to date that has enough liquid sunshine available to sell. The last batch sold out at the distillery in just about six hours! It is made from a mash of 60% rye and 40% corn. After fermentation and distillation, it rested in #3 charred-oak barrels for about five years before being dumped. Because it is Bottled-in-Bond, it is, of course, 100°. It is also certified both organic and gluten-free (on a brief side note, the FDA this past week declared all distilled spirits to be gluten-free). Retail is $65.00, and this is a distillery-only item. The distillery is located at 2018 South 1st Street in Milwaukee.
Is this experiment any good? The best way to tell for sure is to #DrinkCurious. But, before I get there, I need to thank Twisted Path for providing me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let's get to it.
Appearance: In my Glencairn glass, this Rye appeared as deep, dark mahogany in color. It was a bit cloudy, which leads me to believe it was non-chill filtered. I reached out to Brian and he confirmed as much. It created a thick rim that generated fat, slow droplets. I wouldn't even call them legs.
Nose: A dark, rich, fruity aroma started things off. I smelled toasted oak and rye spice as well. Beneath that, I found cinnamon and vanilla. When I inhaled through my mouth, a blast of orange zest and cinnamon ran across my tongue.
Palate: As the liquid passed my lips, it offered a thick, creamy, and coating mouthfeel. Savory and spicy flavors of cinnamon, tobacco leaf, and mint were on the front. Come mid-palate, I was tasting caramel, red fruits, and citrus. Then, on the back, a combination of cocoa, oak, and rye bread.
Finish: Here's where things got really crazy. Initially, I thought it was medium and dry. It began with smoky oak. Not overly smoky, but enough to identify. Cocoa from the back was married with coffee and black pepper. Then, it went away... except it didn't. I left the glass alone, I was writing down my notes, and BAM, I took a whollop of pear in my mouth. It came completely out of left field and even writing this, I don't understand how it came about. Because of that pear and how long it stuck around the medium descriptor is unfair.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: It isn't too often when you can say the finish is the best part of the experience, but in this case, it is. That's not to discount the nose or palate, which were enticing and enjoyable. But, that finish threw me for a loop. Twisted Path Bottled-in-Bond Rye is unique in a good way, and this little experiment is nicely constructed. This one earns a Bottle rating. If you're able, get to the distillery, and if you can't, get yourself a mule before this batch is gone. Cheers!
My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System
- Bottle = Buy It
- Bar = Try It
- Bust = Leave It