If you’re unfamiliar with Seelbachs.com, you’re missing out. Seelbachs carries a wide variety of craft spirits that can ship to your door (in many states). An occasional visit to the website and just scrolling through their inventory can reveal some interesting items: some you may have been looking for already and some you didn’t even know you wanted.
The founder of Seelbachs, Blake Riber, has been a guest on Bourbon Turntable. So, if you want to learn more about Seelbachs, please check out that show.
I recently had two bottles from Seelbachs that are very unique. Sometimes when you say “unique” or “interesting” it’s code for “I’ve not had anything like this before and I hope I never do again”. In this case, however, “unique” is a very good thing!
First, we’ll start with a McKenzie single barrel from Finger Lakes Distilling in Burdett, New York. Finger Lakes Distilling produces some outstanding whiskey in their standard product line. I’m especially a big fan of their bottle-in-bond bourbon. They also have single barrel releases, many of which are one-off distillations. The single barrels are difficult to come by, but, fortunately, some are occasionally available at Seelbachs.
This particular single barrel is a 100% malted rye, 5.5 years old, non-chill filtered at a barrel strength of 103.2 proof. A 100% malted rye (or a rye with a high malted rye content) always gets my attention. These seem to yield some remarkable flavors and this one from Finger Lakes does not disappoint.
Nose: Floral, cedar, fresh cut grass, lemon zest
Taste: Mint tea, honey, blackberry, lemon and hint of oak
Finish: Initially, effervescent Fruit Stripe gum. Then, old-fashioned lemon drop hard candy (the kind with tiny sugar crystals on the outside). You can actually feel it coating your tongue. Also, that hint of oak hangs around throughout.
This one is a fun ride. But it is a ride that shouldn’t be rushed. Let each sip of whiskey linger so you get that nostalgic old-fashioned lemon drop hard candy note. It takes a few seconds to reveal itself.
The second whiskey is one of the experimental batches (#28) from Chattanooga Whiskey. The mashbill is yellow corn, malted wheat and malted barley and is infused with cacao nibs, cinnamon and vanilla beans. It is referred to as a “bourbon liqueur” on the label.
Nose: Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory (minus the Oompa Loompas).
Taste: The vanilla hits first, then cinnamon, and Mexican hot chocolate. The overall taste can be summed up as a chocolate croissant. The croissant feel likely due to the malted wheat.
Finish: It is like a hard chocolate candy melting in your mouth (Riesen’s).
Like the McKenzie’s, don’t rush the finish. Let that chocolate “melt” awhile. This particular experimental batch from Chattanooga will also work really well in certain cocktails. I’ve played around with it a couple of times already and it is a lot of fun.
Cheers and Happy New Year!