Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye – Cask Proof

Catoctin Creek Organic Roundstone Rye - Cask Proof

A couple of weeks ago I took part as a judge in Spirits Business magazine’s Global Whisky Masters. Or to be more precise, the Irish, American and World Whiskey Masters 2016. It was – I’m sure you’ll understand – a day of very hard work. On my particular table we spent the morning working our way through a great many American and Canadian whiskies. Here’s a little of what I was looking at most of the day:

Spirits Business Global Whisky Masters

Repeat for many dozens of whiskies, tasted blind (any bottles were tied in bags) and which were served up in numerous ‘flights’. I actually relished the opportunity to get to know some more obscure whiskies from across the pond, because for years the choice for US whiskies has been slim-pickings. I must say, though, that I was very impressed with the quality (especially in the single malt category). After the event had finished up, we were allowed to take home a treat or two. One of the bottles I picked up was what I thought was a very interesting rye whiskey: Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye – Cask Proof.

The Catoctin Creek Distilling Company is ‘the first distillery in Loudoun County Virginia since before prohibition’. A family owned distillery, which is certified organic and kosher, produces numerous organic spirits and liqueurs, including rye whisky, brandy from Virginia wines, and gin. Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye – Cask Proof is bottled at 58% ABV and costs around $90 a bottle. (Post-Brexit, I’ve no idea what that is in pounds anymore. Probably £9,000.)

Catoctin Creek Organic Roundstone Rye - Cask Proof

Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye – Cask Proof Tasting Notes

Colour: polished mahogany.

Nose: a tartness of redcurrant, mixed with strawberry jam. Vanilla. Toffee. A streak of menthol, that turns to aniseed and fennel. There are some notes of molasses, raisins and prunes even, with just a slight touch of soy sauce. After it’s opened up come blood oranges, or maybe an orange syrup or marmalade.

In the mouth: quite a chewy texture, but a wonderful balance of sweetness and bitterness from the wood as a first impression. And it follows very well from the nose: again, that tartness from the redcurrant, with wood tannins creating a nice cloying mouthfeel. Peppermint. Then the sugary goodness: molasses and prunes again. Blackcurrant. Elderberry. A slug of port before drifting into a slightly woody finish. For it’s the balance on the finish, again of the sweetness and the bitterness, which makes this such a great whiskey.


It is really very good. I suspect batches may well be different, but I thought this particular one a terrific whiskey to spend time with.


I've written about (and reviewed) whisky for Whisky Magazine, among other publications, and have been a whisky judge for competitions including the World Whiskies Awards. I've done other writing too: several mass market genre novels, a few short stories, including for BBC Radio 4. For my day job (I know, I don't get out much) I work in digital content. Follow me on Instagram.com/maltreview/ or Twitter.com/MaltReview. Generally, my tastes lean towards ex-sherry cask and ex-wine cask influences on the spirit, but I'm not so fussed as long as the whisky's gone into good wood.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *