Proof & Wood Ventures is a company that brands itself as Purveyors and Blenders of American and Global Spirits. The company was founded by Dave Schmier, who selects the best barrels and then looks for ways to make them even better. This is a challenging task that many have attempted, but few have succeeded in. However, Dave has consistently managed to perfect the process.
Many of us have seen the DC Collection of whiskeys from Proof & Wood. They come with labels such as The Ambassador, The President, The Representative, The Senator, and The Justice. It stands to reason that it would run out of names eventually. Before that happens, let me introduce you to The Cabinet.
The Cabinet is sourced from MGP/Ross and Squibb. Like much of what Proof & Wood offers, The Cabinet is bottled at barrel proof, which, in this case, is 56.26% ABV (112.52°). It is a blend of American Ryes and Bourbon, and I am thankful for Proof & Wood’s transparency. This whiskey consists of the following whiskeys:
- 2014 Rye (95% rye, 5% malted barley)
- 2015 Rye (95% rye, 5% malted barley)
- 2016 Rye (95% rye, 5% malted barley)
- 2017 Rye (95% rye, 5% malted barley)
- 2016 Bourbon (99% corn, 1% malted barley)
- 2017 Bourbon (75% corn, 21% rye, 4% malted barley)
The Cabinet comes in a 750ml package with a suggested price of about $120, or approximately $10.00 more than the 2022 version. It is also entering the super-premium echelon. So, before I get to the #DrinkCurious thing, I thank Proof & Wood for a sample in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review.
I'll compare the two as I also have 2022’s release available. Let’s sip this and see how things work out.
Appearance: I sipped this American whiskey neat from my Glencairn glass. Inside, it looked like liquid mahogany. A thin rim allowed husky tears to fall but retained fat droplets.
Nose: The floral rye influence was unmistakable in The Cabinet’s aroma. I smelled nutmeg, cherries, plums, mint, caramel, and charred oak. My mouth encountered cherry vanilla as I pulled the vapor through my lips.
Palate: The Cabinet’s texture was oily and rich. I prepared myself for a proof punch that never materialized. Nutmeg, spiced nuts, and cherries hit the front of my palate. The middle consisted of plums, rye spice, and tobacco, while the back featured charred oak, clove, and cinnamon Red Hots.
Finish: The long, lingering finish left me tasting caramel, charred oak, plums, almonds, pipe tobacco, and clove.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Let’s talk about something before I give my rating. I stated that I’d compare 2023 against the 2022 versions. For the record, both whiskeys were similarly colored.
Nose: The 2023 was slightly bolder than 2022, and 2022 had smells of maple syrup that 2022 lacked. Winner: 2022.
Palate: You’d think that 0.04% ABV wouldn’t be a differentiator, but the 2023 tasting experience was more impactful. It was spicier than the previous year. Winner: 2023.
Finish: Frankly, I liked the 2022 finish better. It had some chocolate notes that the 2023 lacked. Winner: 2022.
So, was the 2022 better? It seemed to win the head-to-head challenge. But I’d hate for anyone to walk away with the notion that 2023 is a substandard whiskey because that couldn’t be further from the truth. 2023 is delicious and full of flavor, and in a palate-to-palate contest, it wins. You’d be good with either one, so the 2023 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.