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Pocket Sized Review: Redwood Empire - Lost Monarch Cask Strength Craft Whiskey Blend

Redwood Empire Cask Strength Lost Monarch Sample - Pocket Review

In an effort to get more tasting notes and ratings out to you, my dear reader, I have begun penning short-form reviews called "Pocket Sized Reviews". These are intended to be short, sweet and as digestible as the whiskey we fill our glasses with. In order to stick to that script, let's jump right in!


Company on Label: Redwood Empire Distilling

Whiskey Type: Blend of Straight Whiskeys (a combination of rye and bourbon)

Mash Bill Percentages: A blend of rye and bourbon mash bills

Rye: 94% rye, 1% wheat, 5% malted barley

Bourbon: 74% corn, 20% rye, 1.5% wheat, and 4.5% malted barley

Proof: 117.2°

Age: 3 years (a blend of 3-12 year old bourbons from California, Indiana and Kentucky)

Further identification: The cask strength variants of Redwood Empire were first released in October 2022 as an expansion of their core offerings with cask strength Lost Monarch being offered at an MSRP of $70; this release owes its title to the 321 foot tall coastal Redwood tree, Sulimo, also known as Lost Monarch


Nose: Buzzing honey and floral tones jump out of the glass first. Right away it shows up a little young, with the rye grain being quite apparent. Honeysuckle, cardamom, grenadine, and a bit of wet campfire ash can be found upon diving further. Hints of plastic are a true oddity for something with as little malt content as the stated mash bills that went into this blend would typically offer. The nose is funky as can be with some really deep craft character coming across in a peculiar way. Peculiar, used in this instance, is a suggestion of some level of nasal disapproval that is currently occurring for me. Time for a sip.

Returning my nose to the glass offers more simple charred oak tones that blind the nose a bit. It continues to be quite earthy throughout—not something I'm all that excited about. Bits of dark molasses can be teased out on long inhales. The empty glass smells of spring florals and cedar shakes.

Palate: My first sip is quite citrus-forward. Anyone who has had MGP's 95/5 rye mash bill will recognize this mouthfeel and flavor immediately. The back end transitions into something more unique with cardamom translating from the nose well. It's vaguely spiced, but nothing notable is distinct. Another sip and swish amplifies red grape and oodles of more baking spice as the tingles on my tongue begin to become almost uncomfortable. Allspice, white pepper, clove, turmeric, and coriander sizzle long in the mouth. As I work through late in the glass, hints of pear can be found before the mint and spice tingle pervade the rest of the mouth in an overwhelming wave. Overall, this is quite unbalanced, sharp, and disjointed—the usual hallmarks of a half-hearted blend. My last sip is much of the same story as before with a touch of extra black tea, honey, and more mint shining through. The finish is long, but in an uncomfortably spicy way that I think would be better served watered down or mixed into a cocktail.

TL;DR: Noticeably younger whiskey comes across unbalanced and overly spiced


Rating: 2/5

How funny that my final thoughts on a special cask strength bottling would be a suggestion that this would be better served at a lower proof... While this isn't gag-worthy whiskey, I certainly would expect more out of a special re-labeling, higher price point, and more years of experience under the Redwood Empire team's belt. I remember enjoying the non-cask-strength version quite a bit more. I know Redwood Empire is capable of so much more than this as I think back through my review of the likes of their Haystack Needle 14 year double barrel release. I'd recommend checking out some of the other offerings from Redwood Empire before going for this one.



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