This rye is aged in both vermouth and syrah barrels. If you love the Whiskey + Vermouth cocktails, you might want to give this one a taste.
Nose: The Vya vermouth is unmistakable. Robust herbal notes come off this Whiskey, there's absolutely no way to disguise that it was aged in those barrels. I personally like the smell of vermouth and you get a good dose here. There's also a red fruit under all this vermouth, clearly the syrah influence. That's not all though. You also get a good dose of cranberries, grapefruit, and blood orange. Last but not least, the rye makes an appearance with some dusty wood notes, maple syrup, and baking spice.
Taste: Initially it's just a mouthful of cranberries. If you hold it a bit, then you get the rye spice, the blood orange and grapefruit peel, as well as that clean herbal dryness that comes with vermouth. I couldn't help but notice that this tastes more like a dry vermouth than a sweet vermouth. I've tried both varieties from Vya and my verdict is, this is dry vermouth aged. At its original ABV, the alcohol is a bit much for my taste in the sense that it interferes with the flavor experience. Balance therefore, is somewhat off. I find that half a teaspoon for 1oz mellows it down just enough so you get a nice syrupy consistency with all the flavors and no alcohol to interfere. Any more water than that will obliterate this Whiskey. Weight/body is light to medium.
Finish:Dry vermouth, wood, spice, red wine tannins. In the finish the element of both vermouth and wine produce a very dry finish. Odd for a Whiskey considering the mouth feel is rather lush for such a dry ending.
This one is definitely an interesting combination of barrels. I won't got as far as to say it tastes like ready made Manhattan, but it's close. Missing is the Angostura and some sweetness.
For the curious, I've done the dirty deed for you and butchered this one into a homemade Manhattan. I'd add little or no vermouth tbh. Since this is more dry than sweet, what you end up making is closer to a perfect Rob Roy than a Manhattan.