Maryland Heritage Series Rye Batch 1
Last review of the Maryland Heritage series 14-year ryes! Mount Vernon was their first release and the most attractive packaging in my opinion. The label and bottle shape just felt perfect to reflect that heritage of old.
You can find more information regarding the labels and blends on the Maryland Heritage Whiskey website.
Tasted neat with an initial 20 minutes of rest. Additional tasting with dilution and upwards of an hour of rest for comparison.
The nose brings a richness of leather, tobacco, and soft oak. Dark chocolate barrel char character. The oak is not at all tannic and instead lends really well to the rye spices found in the glass. Cinnamon bark, black peppercorn. Soft caramel chews. Barrel char, ash, and charcoal. Maple syrup and vanilla bean. Lastly, there’s a grain-forward aroma that reminds me of a raisin bran muffin.
Comparatively, Mount Vernon is rather thin on the palate. Not bad per se, just unexpected when I was drinking these all side-by-side as it was noticeable. I do believe the cask has fully taken over the flavor profiles of your typical 95/5 rye. Pops of salted toffee and caramel. Brown sugar and molasses. Dried dark stone fruits and holiday flavors. Currants, gooseberry, and plums. Leather and earthy bold coffee. I let this open in the glass for a while longer and it helped to bring out the herbaceous rye elements. Blind, I might have guessed this was a high rye bourbon with how much sweetness I got from this dram.
Full on rye baking spice finish. Now there’s the rye I was searching for! Toasted peppercorns and cloves. Burnt baking sugars. Woodsy spices of pine, juniper, and oak resin. Bitter baking chocolate. Finishing oils and well-worn leather boots. Fresh oak lathe chips. My only complaint is it’s a rather short finish.
Mount Vernon is a solid blend of sweeter casks aside that one punchy rye cask to remind you it’s still 95/5 rye. That’s not to say rye lovers should pass on this bottle but instead, I think this leans more favorably toward bourbon drinkers. Like those who enjoy Four Roses.
It’s amazing to me that despite the mash, you get such a profile that is really reminiscent of a high rye bourbon. The brown sugar notes in particular really threw me off until I had that rush of baking spices on the back end. This bottle would make the most deceptive blind!
It’s not my preferred bottle of the three releases. I definitely enjoy those punchier rye grains I got from Sherwood. Mount Vernon is no slouch and if the finish was longer, I think this bottle would have been more favorable to me. As much as I enjoy rye, I do find myself drinking and chasing Four Roses.
Ultimately, Mount Vernon is simply overshadowed by the more herbal ryes that better suit my preferences.