Maryland Heritage Series Rye Batch 3
The buzz around these bottles in the DMV area was intense. My local groups had been talking about these releases for months. Allview and Drug City are two well-known stores in the area that have a rabid fanbase.
Admittedly older 95/5 MGP rye piqued my own interest. Older Alberta rye isn’t all that uncommon but many MGP rye releases are in the ~6 year range. I was very curious how 14 years in new charred oak would compare.
You can find a bit 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 has a buttery toffee aroma aside the rye. Sweetened condensed milk and butterscotch. Herbs and spices. Black peppercorn and nutmeg predominantly with a light chai blend mixed in. Fresh-cut grass and mojito mint. With an hour of rest, even more orange oils come out. Water heightens some pleasant citrus aromas. The oak has certainly tamed this rye as those typically pungent spice notes are subdued. Very mild tobacco leaf boldens some of those oak notes nicely.
If you had doubts about the sweeter nose, it’s certainly rye on the palate. The viscosity is really delightful. The old oak tannins are well and present with that initial sip bringing a dry heat with the proof. Fragrant rye spices – clove, allspice, a touch of cinnamon. Hints of bartlett pear or red delicious apple peels. Equally faint honeysuckle sweetness. Water brings more of the fruitier notes out with some mandarin oranges and walnuts.
Toasted spices kick off the finish. Herb garden and that dewy grass field note comes around again. The barrel char flavors bring a more parched sensation with them. A very unique character of tannins that don’t invoke astringency despite the age. Heirloom kitchen table and freshly baked bread. Water brightens things a bit but also brings a more bitter pithy citrus zest finish. Lastly some savory notes of pine nuts, olive oil pepperiness, and grape leaves.
I rather enjoyed this bottle and it was a fun different experience. I was very surprised by the lack of tannic notes. I totally expected these bottles to really push the boundary of bitter, but instead, you are really getting the best of the cask qualities. As a huge fan of black tea notes, I wish this bottle drove it a bit more but the pleasant balance of sweet and spice was lovely.
My only qualm is the price of the bottle. At nearly $300 after tax, I just have many more bottles in mind that I would purchase over this one. I ended up splitting a bottle due to the cost and I was satisfied with what I paid for a share. If given the opportunity to try before you buy, I would recommend it. If you’re primarily a bourbon drinker, you’re not going to be upset blind buying. This is going to be a bottle you break out occasionally just to dive deep into those old oak notes.