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Cask & Crew Blended Rye

Posted on by Eric Burke

I state in my Statement of Ethics that if I accept a review sample, I will disclose it at the beginning of the article. Please consider it disclosed. I’d like to thank Intralink Global for providing this sample to me with no strings attached. 

I'm a big fan of taking various whiskeys and mixing them to see if I can't put together something that is greater than the sum of its parts. I do it at home all the time. My thought is that I can increase the variety of the whiskey I drink if I view the juice I buy not only as an end product but also as ingredients in something new. 

I like to think of it as making a cocktail, except every component is whiskey. I make it by the glass, and if I get a good combination, I write down the recipe. And I don't just stick to bourbons. I've mixed bourbon and rye, bourbon and malt, rye and corn, and probably others that I am completely forgetting. 

But it's not like I'm the first to do this. Various U.S. producers have blended Bourbon and Rye, High West and Wild Turkey come to mind. High West also has a Bourbon/Rye/Scotch blend as well. And heck, practically the entire output of Canadian Whisky is created using separately aged whiskies made from 100% corn, 100% rye, etc. which are then blended to capture the desired flavor profile. 

So, on the face of it, the subject of tonight's post should be pretty interesting. I mean, it's an interesting idea, take Canadian Rye Whisky and mix it with Kentucky Corn Whiskey and see what happens. If done right, the result should blend the spice of rye and the smooth mouthfeel of corn. And if I were the one doing it, I'd use a bold 100% Canadian Rye, I'm thinking something like Lot No. 40. 

Of course, Canadian Rye means different things to different people. To many in Canada, Rye is just a synonym for Whisky. It really doesn't matter if there is rye in it at all. (Think Coke in place of Soda or Pop in some parts of the U.S.) And if it is just a Canadian Rye that contains little to no rye, then this is effectively the equivalent of a low-rye Canadian whisky that happens to use corn whiskey from two countries.

And so I asked the PR person three questions: 

  1. Canadian Rye. What is meant by that? Because Canadians use the term “Rye” for all Canadian Whisky, even if it has little to no fermented and distilled rye grain in it. Is this a Rye Whisky by U.S. standards or by Canadian standards? 
  2. If it is a rye by US standards, can you disclose the percentage of rye used in the Canadian whiskey portion of this blend? For example, many people source 100% Rye Canadian Whisky and sell that in the US. (Canadian Club, Whistle Pig, Masterson’s, etc.)
  3. Can you disclose the distillery and/or the province that the Canadian Rye was sourced from or the distillery that the Kentucky Corn whiskey was sourced from? 

Out of these questions, they could confirm that the Canadian whiskey they bought would meet the 51% rye standard of a U.S.-style rye whiskey. Beyond that, they were not at liberty to discuss the rest. Which really is too bad. They give so much information on their website, that missing out on what could be some of the more important bits is a bit disappointing. At least as far as knowing just what it is that you are putting in your mouth.

Cask & Crew Blended Rye Whiskey

Purchase Info: Intralink Global generously provided this 750mL sample and two 50 mL Flavored Whiskey samples.

Details: This is a blend of 51% Canadian Rye and 49% Kentucky Corn Whiskey. Both aged three years.

Nose: Sweet with almond, rye bread, and unsweetened cocoa powder.

Mouth: Velvety mouthfeel with some spice at the tip of the tongue.  Slight sweetness with almond and a hint of citrus. 

Finish: Medium length. Subtle sweetness that quickly fades to be replaced with bitter almond and a lingering spice.

Thoughts: To me, this is an ok whiskey with a pretty terrible finish. I'm just not digging the bitterness of it. If I were tasting and spitting, I'd find the whiskey to be perfectly fine. But since most people who drink whiskey swallow, I'm having a hard time recommending this one. 

Of course, drinking this neat may not be what this was intended for. Two-thirds of the company's line-up is flavored whiskey. And more to the point, it is this whiskey, flavored. So maybe this is what was needed to get those other two offerings correct. I don't know, I got samples of the flavored whiskey, but one is flavored with walnuts, something I am allergic to, so I'm not taking chances with either of them.

So for me, this is a hard pass. If you are not as sensitive to bitter finishes as I am, you might like it. I mean the price isn't terrible, as it looks to sell for around $25.


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