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Here is a stunning American rye whisky, not easy to find (I came across a bottle at Queen's Quay LCBO by chance). I reviewed their Small Batch bourbon some time ago (this is a Buffalo Trace brand, by the way).
The colour is a dark murky amber. On the nose, surprisingly fruity, with raspberries and tropical fruits. I love those rye notes of pencil shavings and dill pickle! A backbone of caramel and vanilla (which becomes more apparent with water). Beer nuts. More malty (malt vinegar?) and delicate than you might imagine. I've had this a few times but am only now noticing its true complexity.
On the palate, some serious spice, with cardamom, cayenne and some brine. Fruity but this time with caramel apples and dates. Mouth-drying - you can feel the oak here. Quite extraordinary. Water tames the heat and spice, and silkens the mouthfeel.
On the finish, many more pencil shavings. Caraway seeds. Long warming finish - juicy. This is a near-perfect rye, in the sense that all the right elements are there and in perfect harmony (if it does not reach the heights of Thomas H. Handy Sazerac, that is only because the Handy brings so many more extraordinary elements to the table).