- Brand: Kentucky Peerless
- ABV: 53.7%
This is another one I picked up in Washington over the holidays. Kentucky Peerless is a craft distillery in downtown Louisville. Head distiller Caleb Kilburn makes bourbon as well as this single barrel rye (which is also bottled for retailers and bars, such as the Jack Rose Dining Saloon in DC). One of the differences in the process is a sweet mash technique (rather than a sour mash) where the spent mash is added to the new fermentation. Temperatures in the warehouse get up to 110F so the evaporation is huge. This bottle comes from Barrel No. R150413103.
The colour is a soft caramel. On the nose, vanilla and caramel lead the way, with nice wood smoke, dark chocolate, green grapes, cherries, pencil shavings and Angostura bitters. Freshly sawn pine. Ground black pepper. Oily. A drop of water brings out wet campfire and more chocolate. A lovely rye nose.
Spicy on the palate, again with caramel and vanilla. But then comes caraway, chilli, paprika and green banana. Creamy mouthfeel. Ginger, custard and buttered croissant crust. Water really brings out the rye spice. Delicious stuff.
The medium-length finish is tannic with oak and that hint of ginger. It's a really nice American rye - even at that ABV you really don't need to add water. In fact, the one flaw for me is that it doesn't have the power that other US ryes like Rittenhouse and Sazerac seem to have. Still, it's delicious stuff. I'm planning a Kentucky trip in May, and will have to bring me back another bottle.