Blenders take someone else's spirits, sometimes along with their own distillate, and create something special. Blending whiskey is an art form. Some Master Blenders in Scotland do amazing things. Here in the United States, there are some good, respected blenders out there. Names like Smooth Ambler, High West, J. Mattingly, Barrell Craft Spirits, and Four Gate Whiskey Company.
I've reviewed Four Gate before. I've been impressed with what they've done with both The Kelvin Collection II and River Kelvin Rye. When I was presented with an opportunity to review Batch 11, called Ruby Rye Springs, I was very interested. Ruby Rye Springs starts with a seven-year MGP straight Rye whiskey, then finishes it in casks with an unusual heritage.
Initially, the casks held ruby port wine. Once the barrels were dumped, they were filled a second time with a blend of rums and left to age. Once the rum matured, the barrels were filled with the Indiana Rye, where they rested for 45 days. The end result, a whiskey weighing in at 113.4°, yielded 1444 750ml bottles. Retail is $185.00.
I'd like to thank Four Gate for sending me a sample in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Time to #DrinkCurious and learn what this one is all about.
Appearance: In my Glencairn glass, Ruby Rye Springs presented almost as you'd expect - the color of red mahogany amber. How it interacted with the glass was novel. It left a thick rim that created a heavy curtain which raced to the pool. Yet, that husky rim never evaporated. It just stuck there.
Nose: Aromas of cherry, plum, and citrus offered a fruity smell. Mint, rye, and oak provided spice. Molasses seemed to glue them together. When I sucked the vapor into my mouth, mint, plum, and brown sugar ran across my palate.
Palate: A syrupy mouthfeel featured flavors of brown sugar, plum, black cherry, and raspberry on the front. As it traveled down my tongue, cinnamon and blueberry hit the middle, and on the back, I tasted black pepper, tobacco leaf, and molasses.
Finish: Rye spice, oak, citrus, and plum were embraced by molasses in a medium-long finish.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Ruby Rye Springs was certainly different. I've had port-finished whiskeys and I've had rum-finished whiskeys, but I've not, until now, had a port/rum-finished whiskey. It was a unique experience, it was quite enjoyable, but no matter how divergent it may be, this is a serious investment. This earns a Bar rating, you'd want to try it before buying it. Cheers!
My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
- Bottle = Buy It
- Bar = Try It
- Bust = Leave It