Two New 17 Year Old Rye Barrels

Didn’t get that Sazerac 18 you were hoping for in the raffle this year? Don’t worry, these are almost as good (seriously). When I tasted these barrels with my distributor friend Val, I about freaked out. “I’ll take them!!” I said before even knowing the price. Mature, complex, delicious rye whiskey with depth and nuance--and AGE!

“I already sold them,” he replied.

“To whom?” I asked, incredulous, ready to pounce.

“To David OG!” he said laughing.

Thank God!!!! Or should I say, “Thank Dog!” Check out David OG’s notes below. These are super, super exciting. 17 year old LDI/MGP rye barrels that have matured beautifully. Both are at 45%

Taos Lightning 17 Year Old K&L Exclusive Cask #15 Single Barrel Straight Rye Whiskey $109.99 (1 bottle limit) - This cask from our first purchase at this little distillery in New Mexico is another 17 Year Old Indiana Straight Rye. Bottled at a proof of 45%, it has a completely different profile than #16. Deep dark aromas of cedar and dill remind us instantly that's an LDI product. This one has a lot more sweet oak on the palate, but makes up for it with a peppery dark graininess. Texturally more profound and powerful, the contrast between the two continues through the finish. Tremendously smooth and complex, it's definitely old whisky. While all the edges have softened, the herbal dill and subtle pepper keep you guessing. Hopefully there are more of these great old casks out there somewhere, but for now this is the oldest rye in the store. I still don't get how we snagged them for such a great price -only a few bucks more than their standard 15 year old expression, which is pretty great by the way. The wacky label and unusual l provenance only make it better.

Taos Lightning 17 Year Old K&L Exclusive Cask #16 Single Barrel Straight Rye Whiskey $109.99 (1 bottle limit) - I have to say, we got lucky with these two casks. How often does a tiny craft distillery have old rye whiskey? Never! Seriously. It's never happened. Maybe we've got some 7 year floating around. Back in the day, High West had some of that old Barton stuff at 16 and 21 years. There was a little older rye coming out a little while back (Willett, BMH, Pepper), but right now it's totally dry. When these guys came in with a few barrels just hanging around my jaw nearly dropped. Apparently, this stuff was picked up a few years back before the proverbial fan started spinning, so we've also avoided the any unwarranted price inflation. These two casks represent two opposite styles we get out of the great distillery in Lawrenceburg. After a few years maturing in Santa Fe's semi-arid continental climate, they've sufficiently mellowed and neither whiskey is a high proof power bomb. Instead, the subtle elegance of age has tempered the intensity we're used to in the younger expressions. Cask #16 shows off a regal bouquet of candied orange peel, soft vanilla, and distant spice. Almost ethereal on the palate, the lightness is striking. It's a whisper of a whisky at first, but with air becomes quite complex with tons to offer. It's significantly lighter in color than the sister, but impressive in that it's so approachable and alive. I'd feel comfortable pouring a glass of this for almost anyone from a geek to a grandma.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll