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Roundstone Rye

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Roundstone Rye

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Roundstone Rye

Thanks to @neorunner at talkbeer.com for sending me this bottle. Finishing it off tonight so I decided I better review it while I still can.

Batch B13A7

Pretty light in color, the label says aged less than 2 years in new white oak.

Nose is relatively light, honey up front with some "rye spiciness" behind it.

The body is a bit bigger than I was expecting from the nose but still in the mid range.

The palate leads with an alcohol flavor that is not harsh but not as smooth as one would hope from a 40% offering. That spice is still there without much sweetness to back it up.

Overall this is a decent enough bottle though it lacks the balance, complexity or depth as other offerings that have more age behind them. I am hopeful that as this distillery is able to let it's rye spend more time in the barrel they will be able to offer a more bottle.


Catoctin Creek Distilling Company began operations in 2009 in Purcellville, Virginia. Catoctin Creek makes two 100% rye-mash whiskeys, an unaged version named Mosby's Spirit, and a very lightly aged version named Roundstone Rye, which is Mosby's Spirit aged for a very few months. The two Catoctin Creek's rye whiskeys are organic and kosher. The company does not declare whether malted rye is used for the whiskey as distinguished from the use of commercially purchased added enzymes. It was unclear on my bottle of Roundstone Rye whether the whiskey was aged 15 months or 1.5 months. Both because of the color of the whiskey, and because the only two other age references I have seen to this whiskey are 2.5 and 5 months, I believe that the sample bottle from batch # B10-RR-3 is actually aged only 1.5 months in new oak.

Nose: moderate intensity sour mash, honey, slightly floral, some rye spice, noticeable alcohol, and a hint of wood

Taste: very tart spice greeting early, alcohol tastes more than 50%, some sweet rosewater,some citrus, and some slight wood flavours of vanilla and oak

Finish: Sourness remains with considerable sweetness, similar to completely unaged spirit. The wood and spice flavours actually stay a long time, but they are quite subtle compared to other rye whiskeys

Balance: This whiskey has grown on me after repeated tastings. It is subtle rather than assertive: not a typical rye profile. As rye whiskeys go, this is a delicate flower. I think that this one can only be well appreciated if it is consumed on a fresh palate and without either food or other spirits of more assertive qualities biasing the results. You have to like that new-make sour flavour to like this one much, as well. I hope that this new distillery will in time put out a more aged rye whiskey for comparison

@ccy, thank you for your interest in my review. The colour of Roundstone Rye is actually quite light, and much lighter than the picture posted, above. I expect that the colour is completely natural.

As to the proper naming of the whiskey, yes, in the USA it can be called 'rye whiskey' under 2 years of barrel aging time. The 2 year aging requirement is for the word "straight" to be included with the words "rye whiskey".

The bar question is quite a good one for me, because the people who make Catoctin Creek, literally a 'mom and pop' operation, are zealous promoters of 'drinking local'. The distillery is in the outlying zone of the DC area, and their whiskey is fairly popular locally, despite being much more expensive than large-distillery brands. I personally would seldom choose Roundstone Rye as a sipper, but I do know that it is already pretty popular as a mixer around DC, Northern Virginia, and Baltimore. If I managed a bar, I'd probably pick up a bottle or two and see how it worked in some cocktails. Those bar patrons who are interested in drinking products from artisanal distillers might be well inclined to give it a try. Catoctin Creek is not exactly 'local' to New York, but it is at least regional.

If you can get your hands on Catoctin Creek's Pearousia Pear Brandy, consider giving it a try. It is outstanding, but also pricey.

It's good to have someone on the site with such an extensive experience with American whiskies who is prepared to do such in depth reviews. It's greatly appreciated, and is certainly getting me interested in a lot of the drams you have reviewed!

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