Ry3 Madeira Finished Cask Strength Rye Whiskey Review - Spirit Animal Society Single Barrel Pick
Karthik Sudhir at Phenomenal Spirits is back at it again! The RY3 project has been a hit across the world with rum cask finishes, toasted barrels, and now madeira cask finishes all spreading to whiskey enthusiasts fortunate enough to try the brand. The one constant across these 3 releases is the base blend. The Ry3 title is a reference to the clever combination of 3 base whiskeys: Indiana rye, Alberta rye, and light whiskey. The madeira cask that was offered to Spirit Animal Society and Liquor Junction is probably the most light whiskey forward blend I've tasted to date. As part of this pick we were offered 3 different options. The picking team chose incredibly well; big thank you to the Spirit Animal picking team that was selected to help me make this choice:
@barrettimbibes @bourbonman81 @fatheatklein @_LostNemo_ @luckytimmy13 @suburban_ontherocks @whiskey_thief_dude and @witwhiskeyandworkouts
We asked for some extra aging on this cask after we had selected it and our wish was granted. The end result is a whiskey that I think evolved even further beyond the exceptional finish we tasted at time of sampling. Now let's get into how it tastes today!
Company on Label: Phenomenal Spirits
Whiskey Type: Finished Rye Whiskey
Mash Bill Percentages: Undisclosed proportions of 3 mash bills: 95% Rye / 5% Malted Barley (MGP), 100% Rye (Alberta), and a 99% Corn / 1% Malted Barley (Seagrams/MGP)
Age: Undisclosed proportions of ~4 year MGP rye, ~5 year Alberta rye, and ~15 year Light Whiskey
Further identification: This is a single barrel pick that Liquor Junction picked up in collaboration with Spirit Animal Society
Nose: Beautiful funk up front mixed with just the right amount of sweetness to be both intriguing and enticing. Deep inhales produce notes of honeysuckle, Spring flowers and succulent peach. Stewed apricots, plum, fig and toffee culminate in an exceptionally layered dessert for the nose. Aromas of crêpes flambé, roasted walnut and a new layer of funk that reminds me of a well-aged armagnac continue to evolve. Let's jump into a sip.
Coming back from a sip I've found the profile to have been maintained well, but now with more volume. This thing is cranked up to 11 in the aroma volume department. It fits the "MAD RY3" tasting team's craziness well. More stewed fruits continue to build up alongside the prevalent oak. Hints of leather, black pepper and salted caramel provide exceptional complexity for the more experienced whiskey drinker. To me this noses mostly like a light whiskey and almost nothing like your typical rye. What an exceptional blend. Interestingly, late in the glass almost all of the funk that was present in the glass earlier subsides, and I'm left with a return to the lovely soft profile of a honey-laden tea being enjoyed in the early morning sun of a late Spring day. To shorten that prose - it's beautiful. Hints of salinity can be found near the bottom of the glass. Deep inhales elicit the smells of vanilla frosting emanating from a Parisian Patisserie. A real macaron can nearly be plucked from the glass. From the empty glass I find notes of savory pub grub (think ketchup / barbecue sauce, but fleeting) and plum skins. Just unreal through and through.
Palate: Oooh - a punchy, flavorful wave hits first with none of the burn you might expect to come along with it. In that wave I find deep tones of orange peel, peach jelly and crème brûlée. The mouthfeel is syrupy without being cloying; mostly reminiscent of a well made grape jam or a raspberry parfait. I'm torn between leaning towards the jam on toast profile or the creamy yogurt mixed with fruit idea. Both seem to be open to interpretation here as you dig through this delicious dram. Another sip produces more strawberry and cherry tones more typical of a great bourbon profile - I think this will appeal well to all sorts of drinkers. It's just delicious. Honey nut bars can be found in the simmering, easy linger. This drinks so, so far below it's proof, yet never lacks in the flavor department. Wow, as the glass gets lower the red grape flavors begin to amplify and I begin to grow happier (I swear I poured a normal volume for this review). These sweet flavors are again balanced perfectly by a subtle walnut, fig and toasted almonds. Wow; every sip seems to build in intensity as blackberry, plum and cacao start to envelop the taste buds. Nearly imperceptible layers of a well-made cup of coffee usher me towards another sip. I haven't had something this flavorful and head turning in a long, long time. Late in the glass the raspberry, plum and fig tones come back strong. The overall feel of the glass is that of a well crafted fruit dessert. It's comfortable, thoroughly enjoyable and one of the most balanced cask strength whiskeys I can think of. My last sip is thoroughly delicious with a repeat of the raspberry and plum flavors, but this time we get an exciting addition of sugar cookie and kouign amann. The linger is long with tart fruit hanging out at the back of the tongue as light citrus tones and creamy tea rise out from the chest.
Rating: Two Thumbs Way Up
If this review was a little too wordy for you, don't fret. This section is for you: this is the best RY3 release I've had to date. While I am going to stick to my policy of not rating anything that I personally had a hand in selecting, I can tell you that I'm being as honest as I can be when I say this is one of my new favorite whiskeys for this year. I'd put this in line with some really exceptional releases I've also reviewed such as Elijah Craig C922, Redbreast PX edition, and Starlight PX Sherry finish. Get over to Liquor Junction and grab one of these as soon as you can.