MGP makes some incredible whiskeys. It is the big boy on the block as it pertains to providing sourced Bourbons, Ryes, and Light Whiskeys to various "craft" labels you'll see on your local store shelf. One of those brands is Redemption Whiskey, whose story began in 2010 when Dave Schmier secured some high-end barrels of Rye from Old Seagram's Distillery, which is now known as MGP.
In 2015, Schmier sold Redemption to Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits. They've redesigned the bottle and label, but the whiskey inside remains the same as it is all distilled by MGP.
Fast forward to 2020, and The Speakeasy_WI had an opportunity to choose a private barrel of Redemption High Rye Bourbon with its partner, Neil's Liquor of Middleton. The selection committee consisted of Troy Mancusi, Dan O'Connell (the owner at Neil's), Mike Rusk of Cask & Ale, and me, your friendly, neighborhood Whiskeyfellow.
We settled on Barrel #20-185, which was bottled at 105°. The mashbill was 60% corn, 36% rye, and 4% malted barley, and aged for five years. Dave Schmier will tell you this is, in his opinion, the best mashbill that MGP makes. We decided to honor Mike with the label and called it Rusky Business. A 750ml bottle of Rusky Business is $44.99.
Last year I stopped rating barrel picks that I've been involved with. My standards are very strict and I'm perfectly happy to reject all samples and walk away with nothing. If I'm involved in the pick, you can count on it being special.
I'm sure you're interested in the tasting notes, so without further ado, here they are.
Appearance: In my Glencairn glass, Rusky Business was the color of orange amber. It created a medium-thick rim that formed fat, slow legs to drop back to the pool of liquid sunshine.
Nose: The first thing you'll experience is a giant punch in the nose of caramel. Aromas of dill, mint, sawdust, toasted oak, and orange peel follow. If you inhale the vapor in your mouth, orange peel and vanilla will roll across your tongue.
Palate: You'll find the mouthfeel thin and oily. Right off the bat, you'll taste bubble gum, nutmeg, and corn puffs. At mid-palate, flavors of caramel and oak will be obvious. The back will highlight cinnamon, vanilla, and mint.
Finish: Rusky Business has a finish like a freight train with a fully-open throttle. It begins with candied orange, then leads into bubble gum. Cinnamon Red Hots explode and it ends with mint and barrel char. Don't be scared, because everything in the finish just works beautifully.
Final Thoughts: You definitely want to let Rusky Business breathe before delving into it, otherwise it is just going to be hot and you'll miss out on the flavors. Obviously, there are a limited number of bottles available. Neil's is located at 2415 Allen Road in Middleton. Cheers!
My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
- Bottle = Buy It
- Bar = Try It
- Bust = Leave It