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Friday, June 12, 2020

Tasting the Old Tailor Rye

You've seen pictures of the killer barrel and my hairy punim (from like three years ago), you've studied the evaporation rate and bought a bottle of the tawny port, you've lost faith in all other ryes and, as a result, are now sending me your unopened bottles of MGP-era Willett. So now you await the tasting notes, like you await the presidential election, with adrenaline-triggered indigestion.

First, there was a taste off between Old Tailor Rye, the new make and Midsummer Night's Dram 6.2 (High West's port cask finished rye). As youthful as OTR is, the original spirit's notes proved to be nearly absent. HWMND is a very different whiskey, with bigger tannins and fortified wine notes sitting deeper in the palate.

I will say this, Old Tailor's color is right.

But aside from a whiskey's origin story, its color can be its most misleading attribute.

The nose honks "Youthful Rye", though not necessarily baby MGP. The dill note is nowhere to be found. Instead there's rye bread, hazelnuts and ground mustard seed. Cherry lollipops, warm caramel sauce and a hint of grape jam. A good measure of toasted oak spice as well.

The palate is hotter and sharper than the nose. There's lots of tangy citrus and salt, along with the cherry lollipops. It softens up and sweetens after 15-20 minutes in the glass.

Sweet citrus, salt, black pepper and grape jam make up the finish.

It makes for a very reasonable Manhattan (2:1 rye:Antica), one of which Kristen found very acceptable. The port element does not over-sweeten the cocktail, instead a grainy/bready note sits right in the center of the palate.

Old Tailor is a weird success, as my few successes are. Sometimes the port peeks out, sometimes it hides. The palate is simple and may even need a few drops of water. I think it may work best in cocktails and will apply it to such endeavors once we've cleared out our other half-dozen open ryes.

Is the whiskey worth the $150+ I spent on it? Ha! But it is better than I'd expected. A higher quality barrel would have been nice, but I think my mini barrel maturation days are over. It's your turn now.

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