I have previously reviewed Wheel Horse Bourbon, but have never tried the rye before... I will be going into this head to head with some help from @amongsthefernsco who will also be providing some tasting notes. Her findings will be interspersed and identified by being highlighted like this!
Wheel Horse Straight Rye Whiskey - Original Sour Mash
Company on Label: Bottled by Ocean State Distillers (Distilled in Kentucky @ O.Z. Tyler Distillery)
Whiskey Type: Straight Rye Whiskey
Mash Bill Percentages: 95% Rye, 5% Malted Barley
Age: 2 years
Further identification: Batch 1; NCF
Wheel Horse Bourbon
Company on Label: Bottled by Latitude Beverage Co (Distilled in Kentucky @ O.Z. Tyler Distillery)
Whiskey Type: Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: 70% Corn, 21% Rye, 9% Malted Barley
Age: 2 years
Further identification: Batch 1; NCF
Wheel Horse Rye Review
Nose: Bright coffee bean and cereal. Sharp, but silky vanilla with lingering spice. Pungent florals, a lot of baking spice and a tough ethanol. Lemon peel now with flashes of grass. A little spicy. Some red berries and tannic red wine now. Woah, that's so minty! I've never gotten mint before, but it was very minty. Woah. Now it feels more proofy than the other... I've changed my mind. The word that keeps popping into my head is tobacco, but it's not tobacco. It's tobacco-y... Kind of smells like wood chips. Turned a little sweeter. There's definitely some of that mint here, but it leans towards something more herbaceous. Post sip there is a pepper explosion. Coming back there is a bit of anise and bubblegum subtly melting together. Singing: I can't name that smell... I know it's there but I don't know what it is! Now it kind of smells like a spiral baked honey ham. Hm... There is something that reminds me climbing rocks and just being incredibly close to stone, earth, moss and other earthy aromas. More coffee bean is showing up now which tells me this glass has just about come full circle.
Palate: First sip is very mint forward, but it presents a bit synthetic. Lemon peel and black tea. There is a long linger of the dry black tea leaf. Very light flavor... Not much flavor... Not much burn. A bit bland without much character. Bubblegum abounds on the palate now. There is a tingle of something more like toothpaste than mint as well. The mouth coating is intense, but not exactly tasty. It's also not offensive in any way. A big swish definitely reminds me of similar 95/5 rye profiles. A bit like a tea, I'd agree. It's a lighter rye spice than usual. I wish it tasted as nice as it smells; it just doesn't seem to taste like anything. I find that this tastes like playdough looks; it's a bit amorphous and doesn't quite leave any mark upon you. The last sip is oily like a pot still whiskey with more coffee bean, anise, rye spice and a proofy bubblegum that sticks to your gums quite a bit. This might do better in a cocktail than a neat pour!
Wheel Horse Bourbon Review
Nose: Much more mellow with creamy caramel, level oak and plum aromas sitting comfortably in the glass. Tart fruit forward. Faint white pepper and chocolate. On a swirl some milk chocolate and dusty field grains come through. Woah... what is that? Smells like a corn fritter. A little more proofy on the nose than the rye - this one tickles my nose hairs more. It transitions to a caramel apple. Smells like a Fall festival. I find this to be way more mellow, with some subtle nuttiness in the background. There's something that resembles the nose texture of sea salt and vinegar chips (Cape Cod Kettle Cooked of course). Malty, funky, salty and nutty all at once. Definitely a nice profile. Post sip the nose is even more mellowed into a subtle vanilla base. Dried dirt, popcorn and more caramel is prevalent coming back to this glass. There's definitely a big corn influence here. Some floral perfume/cologne notes late in the glass now, before returning to a nutty base.
Palate: First sip is solid. There's a definite nutty base, with some malted caramel layering over and evolving into a pecan pie medley. Seriously so tasty, this pour never ceases to surprise me. Thick mouth coating and great feel too, it's like sucking on a salted caramel square or a Goetze caramel cream candy. Mmm, yummy. It's like warm, buttery caramel popcorn. It has a good mouth coating with waves of the buttery caramel coming and going. Just a yummy, easy sipper. Perfect for a Fall day. A lot more fruitiness finally coming out that I was expecting on this pour, but this is a fresh crack on both bottles. Some light honey and cherry are dancing slowly and delicately on the top of my tongue now; the linger has lengthened significantly and I really feel like this pour is coming into it's own now. Air does great things for this pour! Eugh, I don't recommend drinking bourbon while laying on your tummy... I made my contributions! The last sip of this is decadent with creamy caramel, pecans, peanuts, corn and buttery smoothness.
Final Ranking: Bourbon > Rye for both of us!