Ranger Creek Rimfire

Single Malt,
No Age Statement,
46% ABV, $35 (375 ml)

For #8, we’ll add a bit of smoke from Ranger Creek. It’s a single malt whiskey distilled from their Mesquite Smoked Porter and is the 2012 release from their Small Caliber Series.  The porter is smoked over Texas Mesquite before being distilled and aged.  This is the first whiskey of theirs that I’ve tried… here goes nothing.

The color is a golden color, but lighter than the earlier Buffalo Trace. The nose is mildly smoky with a hint of sulphur. It’s also spicy, stemming mostly from ginger and black pepper, but there’s little else going on here. It’s hard to detect the other aromas because they’re so distant: menthol, honey and caramel. This is perhaps the weakest nose on a whiskey that I’ve encountered.

The taste is equally diminished up front, but builds a bit on the way to a finish of dark chocolate (very distinct) and mild smoke (more like flint). Up front there’s vanilla, honey, black pepper and caramel, but the chocolate becomes more and more prominent and the black pepper compliments it well. This is the most chocolatey whisk I’ve ever tasted. Eventually, the finish settles into a spicy, tart and bitter dark chocolate flavor. The flavors that started things off become more and more muted as the pepper in the finish grows and are joined by a mild spearmint. After spending a while trying to figure this whiskey out, I settle into a tart, spicy vanilla entry… a spicy chocolate interlude… and finally a mildly spicy bitter chocolate finish.

This is an odd whisky and the name, Rimfire, hardly fits it. Cocoa Powder might be more appropriate. With an uninteresting nose and a mostly chocolate flavor, this whisky is pretty boring. If you love dry dark rustic chocolate, then I can recommend this; otherwise I would pass. There’s not enough going on here.

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