Several years ago, I did a program in Indianapolis, Indiana. Rosemary and I went up the day before the program and met some friends for lunch and a tour of the Hotel Tango Distillery. I enjoyed the tour and the taste of their very young whiskey in their tasting room. That whiskey is more mature now and they are bottling some of it as a two year old straight rye whiskey.
The package is a flask style bottle with a very simple label – brown paper with black printing. The design is very clever with many amusing features to the label. My favorite is the pair of arrows – one pointing towards the neck of the bottle stating “This side up to store”, and one pointing down towards the base of the bottle stating “This side up to pour”. It also states that it is “High-Standard Issue” and to “Pour with a purpose, serve with honor”. The label also states that the “Purpose of contents: To be served and consumed in pursuance of elevated company morale”. The back label has directions of “water down at your own risk” and some brief tasting notes. All of the legally required information is also presented on the label such as the two-year-old age statement, and proof. Almost lost in the distillery identification of “Hotel Tango, Indianapolis, Indiana”, is the statement that this distillery is “The first combat-disabled veteran-owned distillery in the USA”.
Matt and I decided to taste this rye whiskey the other day and here is what we found:
Hotel Tango Straight Rye Whiskey
Age: Two Years Old
- Mike: Rye grass, apricot with a hint of banana, vanilla and sweet oak wood.
- Matt: Rye grass, banana, apricot and allspice.
- Mike: Rye grass, vanilla, a hint of banana fruit and apricot jam with some baking spices and oak. When tasted with a dried cranberry the vanilla and banana flavors are enhanced, Tasted with a pecan and the fruit flavor becomes more tart and citrus forward with lime and lemon zest notes. There is a strong oak wood component to the flavor.
- Matt: Rye grass, banana, apricot and baking spices. The dried cranberry enhanced the rye grass notes and the vanilla. The pecan enhanced the oak wood and the vanilla flavors.
- Mike: Long with sweet oak wood and some peppery spice. The dried cranberry made the finish shorter and sweeter with the fruit notes of apricot lingering into the finish. The pecan made the finish oak forward with more tannins and less spice notes.
- Matt: Long and spicy with sweet oak and paprika lasting a moderately long time. The dried cranberry made the spice a little hotter making it a cayenne pepper spice instead of paprika. The pecan lengthened the finish and brought out a fine leather and oak finish.
I would pair this whiskey with a Nub Maduro cigar. I think the vanilla and spice notes of the smoke would pair well with the similar notes in the whiskey without overpowering the flavors in the whiskey. This whiskey is young, but still full of robust flavors that can stand its ground with a cigar.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller