Maryland Heritage Series Rye Batch 2
More 14-year-old rye! The second release from the Maryland Heritage series and probably the one I was most interested in after the tiny nips I had back prior to the general release. It gave off that intense herbal rye spice that I love but in an older expression.
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.
SHARP! The nose is intense and you are kicked in the face with powerful herbaceous elements and cereal grains. It’s not a youthful grain note but a grassy meadow, farm field aroma. The mint notes here are present but not as potent as Sherbrook. Spearmint, lavender, marigolds, and orange blossoms. Distinct fresh-cut hardwoods. Pink peppercorns, cardamom, citrus zest, and eucalyptus. Punchy, floral, and spicy. Fantastic nose and hands down my favorite of the bunch.
Soft and velvety texture. The flavor is a bit muted after an initial capsaicin kick and savory sesame oil note. I felt like with time, not much changed in the glass but dilution helped spur sweeter elements to come out. More citrus blossoms and fruit notes. An old fashioned with an expressed orange peel. Medicinal cherry. Herbal lozenge. Cinnamon bark, clove, camomille, sage, and thyme. Mellow old oak bringing some barrel char ash and charcoal flavors. Lastly, a familiar bitter pear skin taste.
This is a rye lovers rye on the finish. Bold herbal finish with an accompanying citrus flourish. The full 95/5 character is here. Barrel char brings some burnt sugar flavors and tobacco notes. Pity orange peel with other more bitter leaning fruits like a red delicious apple. Familiar freshly cut grass flavors but it’s fighting for dominance with the barrel character. It’s less sweet than Mt. Vernon and in a good way. Herbal liqueur with a grain field distinguishing element to it.
Where Sherbrook seemed to lack, Sherwood came firing guns blazing for me. That barrel character note leaned into the tobacco components and brought with it a cereal, hay, farm field quality I enjoy in rye.
That’s not to say I think the composition of Sherwood is a 10 out of 10. I think the nose was by far my favorite of the three bottles but something about the muted palate put me off. Water did coax out some more interesting characters but even with rest, I found the bottle to be incredibly hot to the point you only taste that charred oak.
Sherwood at least brought the rye I enjoy despite the age. If 95/5 rye is your absolute go-to, this bottle will win you over without much convincing. I find myself gravitating toward those flavors many times and it does most things right here. Overall this gets my vote to buy if you are primarily a rye drinker price notwithstanding.
If the price is offputting I would recommend a value buy of Redemption 10-Year Barrel Proof Rye instead. Similar flavors but less than half the price.