Buzzard’s Roost continues to pump out new whiskeys, this latest one a sourced rye made from 95% rye and 5% malted barley, aged four years, then finished in new American oak barrels that were toasted and then lightly smoked.
It’s not my favorite expression from the brand, the heavy spice and grassiness of the rye immediately evident and pungent, clearly amplified by the smokiness of the barrel. The combination evokes wintergreen mint and pepper, then the sharpness of cinnamon when it’s served sans sugar. The smoke comes across rather like chimney soot and more than a little skunky — evoking burnt coffee grounds at best.
Sharp on the palate, the high-proof offering feels punchy and harsh, its pungency hitting the tongue with a brash, green quality that offers notes of dill, celery salt, green pepper, and hops. Some cinnamon appears here again, but it’s very drying and much in need of some sweetness. The whisky turns highly herbaceous late in the game — rather too much for my taste — again with that smoky quality wafting over the entire experience. Out of balance and increasingly ashy as the finish builds, it largely comes across as a quirky novelty and not overwhelmingly useful as a sipper or cocktail ingredient.
B- / $70 / buzzardsroostwhiskey.com
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