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Drunk neat. I find that adding water drowns the rye too easily to put any in this whisky.
Nose: Light. Toasted oak and vanilla with a slight prickling of rye spices.
Taste: Starts cool and sweet, easily filling the palate. The rye gradually takes its place, bringing a slight fruitiness and controlled spiciness. The toasted oak makes a late appearance with some cinnamon.
Finish: A spice wave hits first, though it is well controlled and never harsh. As it fades, it is replaced by a good long warmth. It would be very nice if it stopped there, but it doesn't: a minute after this bourbon has left for better pastures, the coating it left in your mouth strikes. You get a strong taste of red cinnamon candy: those little red hearts you see on Valentine's day.
It was a nice surprise the first time I got it, but now I just want to get a glass of water to wash it down.
Balance: This bourbon is really all about control and balance. It is easily drinkable and its age shows by the roundness and integration of its flavors.
So, will I buy it again? That's a tough question, since it's nowhere near the "value bourbon" I read about or, at least, not here in Québec. At 41.50$, it actually costs a dollar more than Knob Creek, which I believe is the other way around down south (Sour Mash Manifesto has them at $25 and $32 respectively).
I am withholding my decision on my "go to bourbon with rye" when I will have tried Woodford Reserve, Knob Creek and maybe Basil Hayden, which all are in the 40-50$ range here.