Wheelhorse Rye is a brand from a new company entering the whiskey market. It is bottled by Ocean State Distillers in Woonsocket, R.I. They have acquired barrels of rye made at the O.Z. Tyler Distillery in Owensboro, Kentucky. They don’t seem to be using the Terrapure method of quick aging as the label makes a point of saying that “the whiskey is made the hard way – the right way”. Distiller Jacob Call does make a very good whiskey. This is a 95% rye mashbill. They don’t say so on the label, but the other 5% is probably barley malt. It is aged for two years in charred barrels. This does make it a straight rye whiskey bottled at 101 proof and non-chill filtered.
The bottle and the label are attractive. I am not sure what a “Wheelhorse” is, but it is an imaginative name. The label has a design that reminds me of a 19th century label. I like the look. The whiskey has a good color for a two year old whiskey. The taste of the whiskey is equal to the quality of the packaging. It is full of flavor with only a little of that young whiskey bite. I enjoyed this whiskey quite a bit and I think it would make a good Manhattan cocktail.
Wheelhorse Straight Rye Whiskey
Age: 2 Years Old
Nose: Rye grass, ripe peaches, vanilla and oak.
Taste: Rye grass, peaches, caramel, a hint of baking spices and oak with only a hint of young whiskey bite. When tasted with a dried cranberry, a citrus note comes out to join the peaches and caramel. The oak takes a step back but becomes a little more sweet oak. The baking spice pretty much disappears. When tasted with a pecan the whiskey becomes brandy-like. Lots of fruit with the peaches being joined by raisins and raspberries, as well as the caramel and oak. Once again, the baking spices are gone. I expected the pecan to enhance them, but it did not.
Finish: Lots of oak with a lingering peach note. The dried cranberry makes the peach in the finish stronger to where it is a sweet finish. The pecan once again makes the finish very brandy-like with lots of fruit – peaches, raisins and berries with a hint of oak.
I am pairing this with a Drew Estate Corona Undercrown Pequena Maduro cigar. I find this cigar to have lots of caramel and coffee notes in the smoke that I think will pair well with the fruity flavors of this rye whiskey. I found that the rye whiskey gave the smoke a little pepper spice note. The smoke added a little cinnamon spice to the whiskey. It is a very good pairing.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller