Following on from the first four [WLP], here are four more whiskey’s from across the pond.
Old Overholt 04yo  Ob. Straight Rye Whiskey 114 Proof WB0
- N: 114 proof is 57% abv and yet this is rather faint/light at first [and beyond], yet also fruity and [honeysuckle] floral too [in equal measure] – a rich black/red berry jammy fruitiness with a light lemon balm/lemon sponge note. Other baking layers speak of icing sugar, creamed icing, dried baking fruits, Iced Gems, vanilla-ey custard tarts. Fabulous! Later on, aside from all the berries, I pick up on a Scottish grain vibe.
- T: Strong yet weirdly [spicy] soft at the same time. Starts spritely and nippy yet mysteriously still remains somewhat thin/delicate despite the abv, grainy, and fruity on [black/raspberry/red/sloe] berry juice with a suggestive [Bowmore 33yo WLP / cognac-esque] parma violet/soap note, a drop of confectionary vanilla cream, half a drop of maple syrup,… distant suggestions of fruity-menthol-> cinnamon Kingfisher toothpaste. There is some heat, but whether it’s an issue for you or not is another thing. At its [lower-shelf] price point, it’s absolutely acceptable.
- F: From that light soft yet perky freshness we’ve an easy creamy fruity rye travel with a juicy [cask] savoury~berry-bitter dryness, with vanilla < cinnamon peppermint [toothpaste] and < fabric plasters at the death.
- C: Nailed it if I do say so myself. Just as good as a 1980s expression [WLP84] I’ve reviewed in the last few years. As long as the price remains I’ll keep buying this glugger.
Scores 84 points
- N: Sweet oak-spiced buttered corn over scented roses, quince jelly, buttery custardy strawberry mousse, menthol-y < sawdusty cinnamon, a lovely crushed muddle of assorted gooey cakes & sponges, a touch of soy & sweet chilli sauce mixed with wasabi over pineapple and mango and a halva-like biscuity nuttiness,… On the flip side, it’s grainy and column-y with a complex thick vanilla biscuit/wafer dryness – all very appealing, attainable, commendable,… EDIT: I forgot to mention boozy buttered [white breaded] toast!
- T: Confident/bombastic fresh [fine ground] petal-floral peppery oak arrival, some of the top notes not too far away from parma violets, raspberries, and Cherry Aid,…. before [plenty] more dry/not dry spirit graininess, eventually enveloping into a sort of boozy if complex-dry concoction of lemon & cucumber gin with grated courgettes, sweet grated carrot [cake], flat Baby Cham over vodka over Prosecco, dark cherry & orange chocolate…. fizzy yoghurty ice cream, classic [ethyl acetate?] acetone, sliced almonds in the mix, aniseed/spearmint, fennel or caraway seeds[?],…
- F: From an outsider’s perspective, I find it remains quite column-y at times. Eventually, from the dry yet still oily mild potato vodka savoury sweetness [if you will], comes an Elijah Craig-esque medicinal fusty blackberry > fungal note, though here it’s far lighter, somewhat bitter [oak tannins] – a dry-greasy/waxy mouth coating throughout.
- C: What’s not to like, even for a non-bourbon fan? Gotta view bourbon differently to whisky, I think. Kinda simple and certainly complex at the same time, a fabulous BFYB. Every batch is different mind you yet the consistency of quality and price remain.
Scores 87 points
I rarely buy much American whiskey/bourbon, or [Canadian] rye,… but WhistlePig is one that sticks in my memory since acquiring my first bottle in 2013 [for £85!] of which I still have samples. Tonight I shall have a sample of both, that older bottling, alongside a recent release. As a reminder, WhistlePig is Alberta-sourced [Canadian] rye whiskey aged in Vermont, Indiana.
- N: Withstanding imperfections, I find a lot of joy in the nose, overall, more rounded & relaxed [floppy] in comparison to the current release. Operating [in some respects] like a mature [if deliberately resinous] grain whisky, this WP displays a fruity papyrus < < Rivita fustiness, vanilla custard pastries = apple turnovers ~ > set honey, butterscotch tart [with burnt pastry], confectionary [hint of foam bananas] cacao~chocolate orange~[citrus] strawberry rubbery jammy marshmallows [meets candy banana > sherbet],.. sherry vibes [as I’d picked up 9 years previously],.. and a calvados-ey dryness.
- T: Again, a looser arrival in comparison to its contemporary counterpart with a fruity spicy [apple & nutmeg crumble], [ever] rum-like firmly vanished [fruity=confectionary=plasticised] banana-ey raspberry = < strawberry flower floral & leafy [Grandma’s] soap, and a sourness,…. unfolding with a [slightly peculiar if personally desirable] charred dry fatty greasiness. Further fruitiness – notes of redcurrants and blueberries [chalky Tunes] – continue to sing. Like the contemporary bottling to follow, water is not required unless desired.
- F: A middling/culminating finish, slightly waxy dryish [liquorice floury oily~linseed-y] yet chewy mouthfeel,…. a desirable light lingering spice with a vanilla-ey barley sugar-like conclusion, the candy theme continuing into a root beer-likeness, still with some banana foam and sherbet. In comparison to its contemporary counterpart, here, the char is slight.
- C: Comes across as more cobbled together in comparison to the current expression, some for the good, some less so. I remain rather keen on it even if my early scores were,…. naively optimistic.
Scores 85 points
We finish with two back-to-back bottles of WhistlePig’s latest 10yo release. Despite being different-sized bottles, as with the batch code, the whiskey was identical.
- N: Overall, compared to its predecessor, this is a sharper/more focused even astringent experience with a rather new oak-spicy scorched/charred situation. Exploring it more, it’s a fruity number with descriptors along the lines of lemon tangerine~strawberry [actual fruits & confectionary], spirity vanilla custard pastries, ginger cake > rose water,…. stock cubes? I like!
- T: Far sharper, focused [narrower] arrival in comparison to the predecessor though similarities in character remain. With some sips, I think “what’s all the fuss about”, followed by an opposing perspective of a quality whiskey with delicacy and depth that talks of papaya lemony orange > gingery >~ rose water~Turkish Delight < lychee juice,…
- F: Clean, [column-like] ‘easy’ burned sugary-sweet spirity dry-ish vanilla finish.
- C: Subjectively, I prefer the older bottling though both are just as good in different ways. Ordering another bottle straight after finishing the last tells you something.
Scores 85 points