A little while ago I organized a bottle share of this baby, after tasting some great samples of Zuidam Rye. I got enthused by this one from the moment they announced it at The Whisky Exchange, but I found the price a little prohibitive (£ 84 / € 118).
But, with bottle shares going quite well I thought to give it a go. Billy Abbott was coming to Maltstock anyway, so that way I could save on shipping. The bottle share filled up quickly and last weekend I sent out all samples to the participants.
The same night I tried my sample (all 5cl of it…).
Anyway, Zuidam, the distiller behind the Millstone brand is making some really good rye whisky. I think it can rival the great American rye whiskeys out there and have not yet had another one from elsewhere that comes close. Our club bottling is pretty awesome, their regular 100 Rye is great, and other samples I’ve had were pretty bad ass too.
There’s a lot of oak, but that’s not surprising after a decade in new American white oak. Very spicy with chocolate. Green, wet wood, tree bark and some light peppery hints. It’s sweet with hints of mint and pine, some pesto (basil/pine nuts, mostly). It’s a very interesting combination of heavy and crisp notes.
The palate is spicy but I would never have guessed this is almost at 60% abv. Some red chili peppers, slightly sweet with big hints of rye. Bread, black pepper, cinnamon. All quite dry wit bitter chocolate. Full and rich.
The finish is mostly spicy at first, with peppermint and regular mint. Quite long with hints of oak. The ABV is a little more noticeable here.
So, in short, I no longer think the price is prohibitive. I think this is one of the best rye whiskies I’ve had. It’s not really comparable to Sazerac 18 or so, but the fiercely strong Thomas H. Handy is in the same league. I might just prefer this.
The 10 years in oak have given the whisky some depth and a lot of flavors to go around. I absolutely love this. It’s not for nothing that my sample ran out immediately. Shame I haven’t kept more for myself!
The combination of fresh, crisp notes of pine and mint are a great counterbalance for the heavy oak and other spices. I would not have imagined this to work but it really does. I’ve also not had many whiskies with a hint of pesto, but again, it works surprisingly well.
Get this while you can!
Millstone Rye, 10yo, January 2004 to September 2014, cask 667, 58.6% – OB for The Whisky Exchange. Available there for £ 84