Score: 8.7 / 10
Distillery: Castle and Key Distillery
Type: Straight Rye Whiskey
Formerly the Old Taylor Distillery south of Frankfort Kentucky, now known as Castle and Key. Colonel Edmund Haynes Taylor built this distillery in Millville Kentucky in 1887 and was inspired by European architecture so naturally he built a castle along with a spring house, a sunken garden, and some Grecian pillars around the grounds. The distillery closed in 1920 due to prohibition (boo hiss) and it remained abandoned until 2014 when Castle and Key came along to restore it.
Recently C&K ( We call it C&K in the biz) dropped their Batch 1 Bourbon, however the Rye is getting recognition of it's own. This particular pick was purchased in the gift shop, but can be found in stores across the US as well.
Nose: Blooming vanilla, honey, floral, hibiscus, lemon, rose petal, and fresh rain (my girlfriend informed me that these are all "spa" notes). Nose to the top of the glass yields toffee and rich fudge. Nose to the bottom of the glass brings forth a sharp rye spice with a distinct earthiness.
Palate: Raisin envelopes the palate first followed by a sweet banana taffy, the mouthfeel remains viscous for several seconds before exploding into a fiery effervescent spice with notes of black pepper, spicy cinnamon, and fennel. There's some caramel that lingers around but a robust cherry steals the show on the back-end with lemon citrus and spiced wood. A second sip leads off with dark chocolate and Cafe aulait followed by similar notes listed above.
Finish: I believe the finish is where this whiskey really shines as potent cherry blooms over and over again while pepper spice fades away. It's very tannic and long lasting as the cherry slowly turns into cacao and oak on the center of the palate.
S+ Sensational - The Pinnacle (9.5+)
A - AXEceptional (astounding) (9-9.5)
B - bravo (step aBove average) (8-8.9)
C - competent (7-7.9)
D - disappointing (6-6.9)
F - flush it down the toilet (fail) (5.9 below)
Notes: Availability? Uncommon. Let me elaborate on this. It's not that un-common or easy to find. However, with a recent emergence in only 2014, this (+ being a rye) s not going to cause you to have to knock out the other person in front of you to get to the shelf.