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Another blind review from samples sent by the admirable Cricklewood. This will be part 1 of a H2H between these two samples labelled “Banks of the Detroit River I & II.” Now, the distillery that comes to mind when I hear Detroit River is Hiram Walker. So, I think I have at least an idea of the contents. Sample is neat in a Glencairn.
Nose: Whoa, oh yeah this is gonna be some good stuff. Powerful nose, and lots going on. Definitely cask strength. Let’s see if I can pin some of this down. Honey is up front and center, with caramel, milk chocolate, vanilla. Behind that, loads of vanilla covered fruit. This definitely has a high rye mash bill. The fruit notes are “lighter” fruits such as berries, white grapes, green apples, etc. and they are smothered in vanilla cream. But wait there is more! Cucumber, zucchini, and a light bready/dry grass note. Layered and complex. Excellent nose.
Palate: Again, powerful, lot’s going on. Every 1.5 seconds something else happens. Intense fruit up front. Strawberries, raspberries, white grapes, honeysuckle flowers. This is followed by a spicy peppery note. Habanero, Jalepeno, and chili peppers. Not the same white pepper as is in Talisker 57N (not comparing the two) but it’s peppery for sure. And it is in your face about it.
Finish: After swallowing, I feel like I just took a shot of honey mixed with vanilla and raspberries. It lingers for a while. Long finish.
Overall: I can find no faults with this. It is excellent. Layered, intense flavor, yet drinkable. Honestly this could be a few abv points higher and it would probably make it all that better. My guess this is a cask strength rye from Hiram Walker. That doesn’t narrow it down too much does it? Can’t wait to see how “Banks of the Detroit River II” compares.