A great white dog whiskey that is smooth even at 125 proof
Notes: This whiskey is produced at the Heaven Hill Distillery in Bardstown, and has a new visitors center the Bourbon Heritage Center (which sadly was about to open the week after we visited so we never got there).
Close to both Buffalo Trace and Woodford Reserve Distillery if you are touring. Home of numerous other whiskies such as Parker Heritage 2009 ,Elijah Craig 12 Year Old, Elijah Craig 18 Year Old Single Barrel, Evan Williams Vintage 2000, Henry McKenna, Old Fitzgerald, Fighting Cock and Cabin Still among others.
This is one of their newest whiskies along with the Try Box Series New Make (a unaged bourbon mash bill version). Both are a unaged straight from the still white whiskey commonly known as “White Dog.” This whiskey would normally be found only if you opened the trybox (sometimes referred to as the spirits safe) and stuck a glass into the clear stream of whiskey flowing through. Both are bottled at a barrel proof of 125 proof. Normally this whiskey would be barreled and allowed to mature for a number of years before bottling somewhere between 80-100 proof. As such a white dog has to be good off the bat to be able to enjoy it as you cant hide behind aging and blending it with other barrels.
Appearance: Thin edge line on the glass when you swirl it, smooth, very thin layer of whiskey on swirling, scalloping, then a few thin legs and finally a constellation of very small droplets.
First Impression: Rye, very grain like , almost like stepping in a grist mill. You can almost taste the rye dust and flour leavened with a bit of corn and a little barley earthiness.
Taste: Immediate rye sweet sour with a nice lactic taste to it, with a heavy mouth feel but a smooth start, very lovely dense rye taste. Slight drying and tingling at midpoint with the sour playing nicely against the sweet. Finish is lingering, smooth and very mellow.
Drinks: A Manhattan (a perfect – which uses 1/2 oz red & 1/2 oz white vermouth with 1 1/2 -2 oz whiskey and angostura bitters) was delicious! Would also work well paired with meat of fish in a good meal. Another tact altogether was to use it as a Genever or old American style gin (Hollands). This will require getting/possessing some reprints of older drinks books but it worked extremely well with many of those recipes – but remember the higher proof and adjust accordingly or at your peril – this is really smooth stuff!
Cigars: Something mild so as not to lose the nuances. Small natural wrapper cigar.
Bottle: Clear glass bottle, short, cylindrical with sloped shoulder to a flat top then short neck capped with a copper colored screwcap. Bottle design and simple graphics on paper labels give it a industrial/machine age look. Bottles and caps are however rather fragile so handle carefully. Rye is distinguished from the (new make bourbon) whiskey by the color of the label Rye uses a black background and says RYE in capital letters above new make.
Final Thoughts: Full of flavor and mixing potential. Think of it as either a non wooded rye (which it is ) or a Vieux Systeme Genever/Jenever .Also at 24.99 for a 750 ml of 125 proof goodness it’s a helluva buy.