Catcher’s Rye is a straight rye whiskey from Two James Spirits in Detroit, Michigan. It is not surprising that Michigan has become a place for artisan distilleries. The university system in Michigan has courses dealing with fermentation and distilling. Historically, Michigan has had a tradition of making apple brandy and there were many rectifiers located in the state before Prohibition. Two James Spirits has brought back the distilling tradition with some pride. I like the products that I tasted from their distillery. The products are very good for being only two years old and I look forward to tasting their products when they are fully matured to four or six years old. More age may add to the rich complexity of the whiskey and enhance the whiskey flavors when paired with food.
Age: 2 years old
Nose: Very complex. There is rye grassiness with a burst of flavor that sometimes seems to be orange citrus but at other times sweet pineapple. There is a note of spearmint and a little oak wood and baking spice.
Taste: Brown sugar, citrus and cinnamon with a hint of oak tannins. A very nice drink of whiskey that would probably make a good old-fashioned cocktail. Tasted with a dried cranberry and the citrus disappears and the cinnamon becomes more peppery with notes of cayenne pepper. Tasted with a pecan and the tannins from the pecan dominate the flavor leaving just a taste of leather and oak, not unpleasant with the pecan, but disappointing.
Finish: Dry with oak tannins and a hint of spearmint. The cranberry made the finish dry with oak and cayenne pepper while the pecan left just oak and leather in the finish.
I decided to pair this rye with a Nub Maduro cigar. I find the smoke rich with tobacco and vanilla with notes of chocolate and coffee. The rye added a little cinnamon spice to the smoke while the smoke brought forward the citrus and cinnamon spice in the rye. I like this pairing. I think it best to enjoy this whiskey neat with a good cigar.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller