I am not a fan of flavored whiskey and sometimes, finished whiskeys seem to be just that – flavored by the finishing barrel. It all depends upon how the finishing process is handled. If there is a lot of maple syrup left in the finishing maple syrup barrel, then to me that is no different than adding maple syrup to the whiskey as a flavoring agent. I am happy to say that in the case of this Roundstone Rye, that is not the case. The people at Catoctin Creek seem to understand that finishing a whiskey should complement the original flavor of the whiskey with the flavor from the finishing barrel, and not let that new flavor dominate the whiskey’s flavor.
The Roundstone Rye is made in Purcellville, Virginia at the Catoctin Creek Distilling Company. The rye has a 100% rye mash bill and it has no age statement so it must be at least four years old before it is finished in the maple syrup barrel. It is a single barrel product and this bottle is number 175 of 248. The whiskey is bottled at barrel proof without chill filtering the whiskey. The 118 barrel proof indicated that the whiskey went into the barrel at a proof lower than 125. There is a nice amber red color to the whiskey but some of that could be from maple syrup, not the age of the whiskey. I like this whiskey. The maple syrup does not cover up the flavor of the rye whiskey. Instead, it simply adds some sweet notes to the flavor of the rye.
Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Single Barrel Finished in Maple Syrup Barrel
Age: No Age Statement
Nose: A light aroma of maple syrup, rye grassiness, some baking spices and oak.
Taste: Rye grass, cinnamon, maple syrup, and oak. Tasted with a dried cranberry and there is a lot less spice in the taste and more sweet fruit – maybe ripe pear or apple, and maple syrup. Tasted with a pecan and the maple syrup is enhanced making it a very sweet whiskey. The rye grass and spice are hardly tasted, but do come back in the finish.
Finish: Very long and spicy with cinnamon and nutmeg spice and oak with some lingering maple syrup sweetness. The cranberry enhances the spiciness of the finish and actually removes the sweeter flavors making it dryer with more oak. The pecan makes the finish a little sweeter with maple syrup but also spicier with cinnamon, nutmeg and maybe a little clove.
I would pair this whiskey with a Rocky Patel Decades cigar. I think the earthy tobacco and sweet vanilla of the smoke would pair well with the spice and maple syrup of the whiskey.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller