Backbone Bourbon Company exclusively sources MGP products and ages them in one of three warehouse spaces that they’ve leased out. One is at MGP and the other two are at undisclosed locations in Kentucky. Their “Bone Snapper” line of rye whiskey is probably some of the most affordable and available middle-aged ryes on the market. The single barrel program that Backbone offers, allows customers to choose a classic MGP 95/5 mashbill rye whiskey up to about 8 years old, but more commonly around 5.5-6 years old. Today’s review showcases a barrel that was picked by the Rural Inn that was aged 76 months and was bottled as cask strength. For an extremely reasonable $55, this is a fantastic deal for MGP’s original rye whiskey.
Chances are, if you’ve had the rye whiskey from Bulleit, George Dickel, High West or even Minor Case, that you’ve already experienced MGP’s wonderful recipe that brings a pleasant spice and sweetness. Today we’re going to dive into this Rural Inn pick and see how this stacks up. I sampled this neat and from a glencairn.
Nose: Notes of sweet hay, gingersnap cookies and caramel icing swirl around to make a very pleasant nosing on this dram. There are even some seasoned oak and baking spice aromas that offer up some aged traits and keep reeling you back in with the powerful punch they exhibit.
Palate: Citrus notes are detected immediately like orange and grapefruit peel. Those mix with sweet honey and lots of rye spices like pine needles, black pepper, dill and marjoram. I find that the more I drink of this, the more the honey sinks into the background while a thick, liquid brown sugar note moves in. There’s a dual punch of spiciness that’s a lot like cinnamon mixed with chili powder. It ramps up the heat, but not in an unpleasant way. It’s just very pleasant and rounds out the flavors very well.
Finish: A sweet finish reminiscent of the sticky caramel crust on top of crème brulee that gets stuck to your teeth. Meanwhile, cinnamon spice coats the back of your throat. Then, it turns into a pleasant minty/grassy/menthol aftertaste that stays on the sweet side and never turns astringent.
This rye whiskey is packed with great flavors and scents. As the session went on, there was one thing that kept going through my mind and that was how similar this is to a Whistlepig Single Barrel pick (the ones from MGP). While not as fully developed as those picks, this Backbone pick was easily 4/5 the taste and nose of them. And for about half the price, that puts this in a great value range.
This rye continues to get better with more air time, so it’s possible it may get even better. But if you live in a state that’s lucky enough to have access to Backbone and their products, I highly suggest you look out for these single barrel rye whiskey picks. They’re a fantastic deal and won’t break the bank.
1 | Disgusting | Drain pour (Example: Jeffers Creek)
2 | Poor | Forced myself to drink it
3 | Bad | Flawed (AD Laws 4 Grain BiB, Clyde Mays anything)
4 | Sub-par | Many things I’d rather have (Tincup 10 year)
5 | Good | Good, solid, ordinary (Larceny, Sazerac Rye)
6 | Very Good | Better than average (Buffalo Trace, OGD BiB)
7 | Great | Well above average (Old Ezra Barrel Proof, Old Weller Antique)
8 | Excellent | Exceptional (Michter’s Barrel Proof Rye, Four Roses Barrel Strength)
9 | Incredible | Extraordinary (GTS, 13 Year MGP or Canadian Rye)
10 | Insurpassable | Nothing Else Comes Close (William Larue Weller)
*Bourbon Culture is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.