Rossville Union 6-Year Bottled-in-Bond Rye Whiskey Review & Tasting Notes

The massive Indiana distillery in Lawrenceburg has undergone several name changes. Most commonly known as MGP, it was formerly LDI and Seagram’s. The distillery was initially founded as Rossville Union Distillery in 1847. The property next to Rossville Union was Squibb Distillery, established in 1869 and later purchased by George Remus. Although we still often refer to this distillery as MGP, it was actually rebranded as Ross & Squibb Distillery two years ago.


Shortly before the rebranding, MGP purchased Luxco, the owner of Bardstown, Kentucky’s Lux Row Distillers, and solidified its reputation as a serious distillery. MGP then shifted its house brands to its Luxco umbrella, including George Remus and Rossville Union.


“It began in 1847 with a bold, satisfying taste that would make Indiana the rye capital of the world. For nearly 200 years, Lawrenceburg's master distillers and blenders have been perfecting the original handcrafted rye blends in one of America's last Prohibition-era distilleries. Rossville Union is a return to the golden age of rye with an authentic taste that could only come from Whiskey City.” – Ross and Squibb Distillery


The cool thing is what Ross and Squibb have in inventory, whether it is Bourbon, Rye, Malts, Corn, or Light Whiskeys, it has an almost endless variety of options to create something interesting. This year, Ross & Squibb offers a limited-edition Rossville Union Bottled in Bond Straight Rye. There are 18,000 700ml bottles of this six-year whiskey distilled from a mash of 51% rye and 49% malted barley and barrelled in March 2017. Its suggested price is $49.99.


This year’s release aims to deal with the ever-growing craft cocktail resurgence and interest in higher-quality, more complex brown liquors as their base. This doesn’t suggest that Rossville Union is only made for mixing; today’s review will test just that. Ross and Squibb is simply targeting that market. According to Shanae Randolph, the Marketing Director-Brands for Luxco Branded Spirits, “Rossville Union Bottled in Bond […] arrives at just the right time, as it is made the way rye whiskeys are supposed to be made and is perfect in cocktails made the way they used to be.”  


How’s it fare? The only way to answer that is to #DrinkCurious. Before I get there, I must thank Ross and Squibb for providing me with a sample in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review.


Appearance: I poured this bonded whiskey into my Glencairn glass, intending to sip it neat. Inside, the liquid looked almost golden versus orange or brown. A medium rim allowed thick, watery tears to fall.


Nose: The first thing I smelled was oak, just while I was snapping my photo! When I finally brought the glass closer to examine the color and aroma, a blast of fruitiness completely overtook the oak. I found raisins, dried cherries, and plums. But I also encountered cocoa powder, fresh leather, and spearmint. A few whiffs through my mouth produced cinnamon that floated across my tongue.


Palate: The weighty mouthfeel had a bit of creaminess to it. Flavors of coffee, vanilla cream, and caramel greeted my palate. I tasted hazelnuts, pears, and golden raisins as it moved to the middle. The back featured charred oak, dark chocolate, and bold cinnamon.  


Finish: The spicy finish wasn’t hot per se; instead, it was flavorful – full of cinnamon, charred oak, rye spice, and a kiss of mint, but there were also notes of cocoa and hazelnuts (think Nutella). Medium-long in duration, there was no doubt that once it began to fade, it was over and done. The charred oak was the final note.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: These days, $50.00 for a six-year bonded whiskey is reasonably priced. The high malt content provided an interesting twist with the rich fruitiness barley typically offers. Regarding cocktails, Rossville Union Bottled in Bond Rye would likely not get lost amongst whatever other ingredients you used in the blend. Rossville Union isn’t your average MGP rye. It goes a step beyond, and I believe you’ll enjoy this one as much as I have. It takes my Bottle rating. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you to do so responsibly.