I recently had the pleasure of meeting and tasting with the Buzzard's Roost founder and owner, Jason Brauner. He was running a tasting of all their current line of whiskeys at Kappy's in Medford back in mid-August. He was full of great stories and fantastic insights on how Buzzard's Roost arrives at it's final flavor in the bottle. The proprietary extra barrel aging from targeted, custom barrels from Independent Stave Co help Jason to craft what he likes to call his sippin' whiskey. In addition to running a tight ship on this awesome new whiskey company, Jason also has long co-owned Bourbons Bistro in Louisville, where he has been a stalwart and pioneer in the bourbon industry since ~2005 back before bourbon was in it's current craze. It was great tasting with him and I'm excited to try the bottle I have with me tonight.
I will preface this review with the fact that the very small batch was my favorite of the line that I tried on the day of my previous tasting. What is interesting here is I will be tasting it for the first time in a glencairn instead of a plastic shot glass, so I'd anticipate the nose is going to play a larger role in this review.
Company on Label: Buzzard's Roost Spirits
Whiskey Type: Straight Rye Whiskey (finished in more oak)
Mash Bill Percentages: 95% Rye, 5% Malted Barley
Age: 3 years
Further identification: Batch 03; NCF; Distilled in Indiana (MGP)
Nose: Lemon custard bonbons immediately on first nose. Pine boughs. A much more prominent tobacco note than I experienced in my previous tasting. Fairly oaky here - feels like the lumber section at Home Depot. Toasty vanilla flows along behind everything nicely. Slightly chocolatey, but more-so carrying a dark, rich, earthy soil. Copper and now more of those earthy undertones. A bit of sawdust is a little dry and makes me want to go for a sip! Post sip the pour is back to the sweeter lemon zest side of things and has departed the earthiness of before. Green cardamom pods are a very interesting addition here. Some light coriander notes are now found after more air time. The empty glass smells of rye bread, dry vanilla, some very, very subtle grains and caramelized sugar.
Palate: Oh yeah, a lot of that lemon zest in on the palate here too. I remember now that was my favorite part about this: that creamy lemon. It's like a summer lemon cake frosting; it presents quite bright with almost a shiny metallic characteristic to it - as if it were presented on some kind of silver platter. Punchy for 105 proof, but settling down before anything can be misconstrued as offensive. Funky dark molasses produces a nice mouth coating that's a bit on the thicker, viscous side. A bit of baking spice rolls through after a sip. I almost forgot I was drinking a rye here for a while. This one definitely dances on center stage of your tongue a bit. The linger is medium in length and fairly low in intensity. There's a slight tannin-laden cherry that started coming through later in the glass. I'd say mission definitely accomplished on creating a sippin' whiskey out of a mash bill I admittedly haven't had all that many pleasant experiences with. The final flavors mirror the earlier sentiments of pine boughs, lemon cream, and some slight earthy spices. Great stuff!