Proof and Wood Vertigo Blended Whiskey

  • Rating: 9
  • Value: 8
Proof: 105 (52.5%)
Age: Blended to Profile
Price: $200 750 ML
Price Range:

Will change your mind ( for the better) about blended whiskies. Significantly raises the bar for blended whiskies in general, and the use of American Light whiskies in particular !

Notes: This is another whiskey passion project brought to market by David Schmier of Dynamic Beverages, who brought us the Redemption Rye and Bourbon series, the  Dead Wood Series of Bourbon and Rye, River Boat series, and the Funk a Jamaican high ester pot still rum. The Vertigo blended whiskey represents a new venture in a higher-end direction.

The whiskey itself is sourced from Seagrams/MGP in Indiana and is following a number of other remarkable and very noteworthy whiskies actually that Mr. Schmier has found in the long rows and archives that make MGP an overlooked treasure- it represents a beautiful merchant bottling of whiskies. The barrels selected for this bottling represent some of the finer whiskies available on the open market for bottling and, possibly, more importantly, skill in selection and blending.

Geeky Details; Overall, it is a blend of an American Rye Whiskey, a Bourbon Whiskey, and two American Light Whiskies. All the whiskies were sourced from the former Seagrams plant, now called MGP, in Indiana.

The blend ( sorry, no percentages or proportions), 1992 American Light Whisky, 2008 American Light Whiskey, 2012 95 % Rye Whiskey, and a 2015 Bourbon with a mash bill of 75% corn, 21% rye, and 4 % malted barley. Bottled at 105 proof, which in my opinion, is where the sweet spot for a lot of bourbons is. Bourbon can get very woody beyond 12 to 15 years old, depending on where it is stored and under what conditions.
The production run of this bourbon is only 600 bottles ( best guess estimate puts this at about a four-barrel batch), making it far rarer than Pappy Winkle 23-year-old Bourbon. If you want a bottle of this, you better grab one now while you can, as availability is extremely limited.

Appearance: Clear, lovely mahogany red color, promising a lovely aging process has taken place before bottling.

First Impression:  Fantastic bouquet reflecting a bottle at the peak of aging. Mint, vanilla, cinnamon,  pipe tobacco, hints of corn sweetness, with some spiciness of other grains. The bouquet of this whiskey is well integrated, indeed exciting in a Pavlovian way, to aficionados of bourbon as a delightful set of aromas holding much promise.

Taste: Wonderful mint, toffee, and vanilla notes with a nice background of char, tobacco, and a lovely caramel toffee with hints of spice finish to drying wood.  Earthy notes of mushroom, alkali, and loam almost from an interesting backdrop to the more aromatic notes. Slightly oaky medium-long finish with aromatic notes that linger.

Drinks: Makes a beautiful Manhattan using a drier vermouth, tends to get a touch buried, and loses nuance with Antica. Straight up with a splash of water or ice opens up more vanilla notes and tones it back a bit. Makes a leaner Old Fashioned than some, but so subtle.

Bottle: Very nice heavy clear glass with a solid clear, somewhat angled punt to the bottom. Pleasing cylindrical shape with a gently angled shoulder leading to a short neck and is sealed with a dark blue sealing wax reminiscent of many other higher-end bottlings. Relatively simple cream-colored label with an eagle almost in a watermark in the background. Simple and elegant.

Other: More accessible and far cheaper than a Pappy product. While maybe not as rich and cushy as some older whiskeys or indeed some younger whiskies such as Eagle Rare, and Buffalo Trace,  I enjoy the well-crafted leanness of it. Much like a vintage sports car, over a sedan – it may be lean in the body a bit, but that allows what it has to shine through.

Final Thoughts: While the retail on this bottle is rather high on the MSRP ( the price the manufacturer suggests as a retail price)  it is a downright bargain compared to the gray market prices fetched for bottlings comparable in quality,  and in a way, helps level the playing field where a small number of ( to put it nicely) speculators can scalp everyone else for bottles.

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