This was discontinued last year in favor of the 81 proof version, but its rumored that this one will eventually return. Who knows if it will be the same stuff or not, but I had to grab some before it disappeared to see what all of the hype was about as this whiskey has quite the reputation.
The color is a really nice clear golden amber. Moving on to the aroma, I smell honey, straw, toffee and slight orange peel and cherry. The taste is almost malty with citrus and spice… lemon, ginger, white pepper, vanilla, peach, pear, cherry and green apple. On the finish its peppery and mildly oaky with a bit of lingering orange and cherry. Adding a tiny bit of water changes things dramatically. The pepper is subdued while the ginger flavor remains. The fruits are much less tangy and the flavor is more wood, but the finish is mostly the same with an additional straw flavor. The fruits are a more rounded collection of cherry, pear, peach, pomegranate and persimmon (you heard that right) with a mild caramel base.
This is a very good rye whiskey and easier to approach than the younger Willets or Rittenhouse 100. I still think that both of them are better, though. If this one comes back in good form and at a reasonable price (i.e. less than the Willets), then I’ll go for another bottle. By the way, this stuff is great in a Mint Julep or Sazerac.