It's been much too long since the last Un-Gnome Whiskey review! @amongstthefernsco poured me something blind tonight and I'm so ready. This one comes into my hands appearing very dark... Interesting! Let's see if we can figure this one out.
Bottle information will be posted after the glass reveal at the end. Scroll slow if you don't want spoilers!
Nose: Stone fruit forward. Very sweet bourbon aromas at the start. Cinnamon smoke, almost like an incense floating into my lungs feeling. Light raisin. Dried plum. Cherry skins. It's both a cacophony of aromas, but all of them altogether fairly muted at the start of this glass. I'm going to give it a swirl. Not much springs forward even now, but maybe some slight unique grains and a bit of chocolate. Things are evolving towards more of a rye profile now with allspice and cloves. Funky change! I almost want to keep letting this change on the nose, but the lack of exciting punchy aromas are also driving me towards starting into a sip to help me identify this one. Post sip this is super herbal which is interesting given the sweetness of the sip. Copper metallics with some heavy patina. This pour feels moody. Deep inhales present a light cotton aroma I recognize a bit. The rest of the pour highlights some dark maple syrup that has been somehow stripped of its sweetness. Interesting cereal grains, results in a slightly higher than usual malt level that isn't my favorite, but also works fairly well with the darker aromas of the glass. What happened to those sweeter fruit from the first nose? That smoked incense has returned. Empty glass highlights dark chocolate, copper, molasses and oak.
Palate: Light syrupy plum that sticks to the top of my tongue and nowhere else. Clove pop followed by more unique grainy oak. I have a feeling this is a specialty offering from a craft whiskey company that I won't know off the top of my head. I know a few people have sent me things that could fit that bill and are in the running here, so memory may be on my side. There is a nice creamy texture to this. More of that plum sweetness. There is a long build towards a fairly strong chest hug. This might be up around 100-110 proof. Does this have a finish to it? I can't tell. It's a very light/short barrel finish if so, but the one-directional fruit sweetness says maybe a wine barrel was involved. Altogether, for how dark this is, I really expected more flavor. A larger chew elicits a spicy cherry, dark grapes void of tannin, a metallic molasses and something bordering on citrus. Something with maybe a tiny bit of banana hiding in the back of some cereal notes on the last sip. This one is befuddling. At the very end I get more proof than I thought...
1) King's County Barrel Strength Bourbon
II) Starlight Sherry Finished Bourbon
III) J. Rieger Co Private Stock Cabernet Sauvignon Finished Bourbon
Reveal: J. Rieger Co Private Stock Cabernet Sauvignon Finished Bourbon
Post tasting/reveal thoughts: I think I overthought and overestimated the color part of this, and then let the proof thoughts spiral towards confirmation bias. Well, I was right on figuring out this has a subtle finish to it! Got it on the 3rd guess, which I'll take. Thank you to @bruns_bourbon for this sample that I got as part of a swap. I'm told this is likely 6-7 year old MGP.
Company on Label: J. Rieger & Co
Whiskey Type: Finished Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: 56% Corn, 30% Rye, 14% Malted Barley
Age: NAS (assumed 6-7 years?)
Further identification: This is a store pick from Bubble's Wine & Spirits; the sample was given by @Bruns_Bourbon on Instagram