...where distraction is the main attraction.

Friday, June 23, 2023

Bourbon and Rye Day Friday: Jews & Booze 4 year old MGP Rye, The Holiday Armadillo

Another BARD for a TIRD! (Translation: Bourbon and Rye Day for a Thing I Really Drink.) And it's another Jews & Booze single barrel of MGP whiskey. This time it's rye. And this time I have plenty of pics.

All American whiskies are legally required to list the state of their distillation somewhere on their labels. So all MGP-distilled whiskies must have something like this:

I am of the religious opinion that all MGP ryes should have the above spelled out in LED lights or at least rhinestones, but for some reason the TTB hasn't responded to any of my emails on the matter. Perhaps they are discussing it in a committee. I await their response with dizzying anticipation.

Though I know that numerous American whiskey producers are playing around with oak stave finishes, I've never actually tried any such creation. But since the 95/5 MGP mashbill is the real boss hoss, I figured it could stand up to the woodwork. So I bought a bottle.

More specifically, this whiskey, named The Holiday Armadillo after a Friends Hanukkah reference, had recharred oak staves added to its barrel for the final six months of aging. See pics below for the rest of the whiskey's data.


As a 2:1 Manhattan cocktail: It smells and tastes like a hipster bar's oak-infused Manhattan, with all the flavors perched a thick slab of toasted (not recharred) oak. It's also curiously marshmallowy. The 122 proof is kept ar bay by the Carpano Antica.

On the rocks: A real sweetie pie. Smells like milk chocolate!

Neat: Heath Bar, whole wheat bread, and toasted oak make up most of the nose for the first 15 minutes. A perfumy note moves to the fore after that. Caramel, fennel seed, and peach juice linger in the background. Hints of halvah, dried oregano, and pencil shaving arrive later. The palate is hot, tangy, and slightly nutty. Sweet oranges, creamy vanilla, and plenty of florals comprise the core. It gets sweeter and more bourbon-like with time. It finishes with sweet and tangy citrus, a little bit of vanilla, and a lot of heat.


This recharred-oak-stave finish seems to neutralize the 95/5 mashbill style, turning it into something more like a lower-rye rye. It works best in a cocktail or on the rocks, for me. The 61.04 points of alcohol have also made neat drinking a bit of a chore for this palate, and I've hit a wall with this bottle at the bottom-third mark, eight months in. Some of you fire-drinking youngsters out there would like this whiskey more than I do. For me, just Holiday Armadillo cocktails going forward.

Availability - Maybe?
Pricing - $75
Rating - 82 (see above for caveats)