I always have time for a rye whiskey and the flavour profile it can deliver. So when Mark from Malt-Review revealed after judging the Spirit Business magazine’s Global Whisky Masters awards, he was allowed to take home a couple of bottles I was intrigued. Especially given the wealth of choice that he plumped for what I’d consider is a relatively unknown American distillery.
Passing on a generous sample, I’ve been given the opportunity to try out this rye whisky from the Catoctin Creek Distilling Company and helped myself to a photograph as well. Before we dive into the whiskey lets spend a moment learning about the distillery which is the first in the county of Loudoun since Prohibition. Established in 2009, Catoctin (pronounced Ka-TOCK-tin) is an Indian word that means the place of many deer. Hmmm, it does bring back memories of Scotland and have I just given those marketing bods in their corporate bunkers a whole new phrase book for forthcoming releases?
The distillery has a local ethic trying to source ingredients from nearby and keeping things organic whenever possible. The husband and wife team of Becky and Scott Harris have brought their passion for whiskey leaving behind their careers in chemical engineering and software respectively.
There are three variants of the Roundstone Rye released:
1. Organic Roundstone Rye (40% ABV)
2. Organic Roundstone Rye 92 Proof (46% ABV)
3. Organic Roundstone Rye Cask Proof (58% ABV)
We’re on #3 so the big daddy of the range with no restraint. Normally it does depend on the casks for the batch selected but Catoctin do aim to bottle around 58% give or take. It’s a special release being bottled just twice a year as well.
Colour: an apricot orange reduction
Nose: lots of caramel and fudge notes combined with oranges, tobacco and figs. It’s a liquidised hot cross bun with a sweet dough, cinnamon and apricot jam. Massive aromas with marzipan, aniseed and of course vanilla.
Taste: big arrival with marzipan followed by caramel and ginger. Plenty of vanilla and these bold flavours force you to suck in your cheeks for a moment with the bitterness. Water. Much better. Toffee and coffee beans and a decent finish of black pepper it must be said.
Overall: a decent enough rye although my favourite remains the excellent Whisky Buck whiskey which just offered that little bit extra. I’d be interested in trying the other Roundstone rye whiskies, as taking this fella down a notch paid dividends.