The time period between 2007 and 2011 was one of constant flux for the distillery that we now refer to as MGP in Indiana. Ownership changes had the biggest impact to how things were ran during that time as well as the departure of Master Distiller Larry Ebersold.
After MGP Ingredients purchased the distillery in late 2011, operations slowly began to stabilize and a large amount of whiskey began to get put away into the many warehouses of their Lawrenceburg campus.
Non Distiller Producers
Meanwhile, Non Distiller Producers (NDPs) around the country continue to clamor for the oldest whiskey they can get from MGP, whose stocks of old bourbon and rye really began to dry up in 2018.
This has left them with nothing much older than six years old (at the time of this writing) for bourbon. However, there seems to be a cache of older rye whiskey that was distilled in 2012 and is slightly more available.
Bone Snapper Rye, a label of the Backbone Bourbon Company, apparently has some significant stocks of this older rye and has released a few barrels this year much to the delight of their fans.
Rural Inn’s patronage to this brand over the years has paid off as they were given a 9 year old single barrel just last month. Coming in a 113.4 proof, this is a bit more mellow than what we normally see.
But given the age, we can only assume that it’s lost a couple of points over the years. So how does it taste? There’s only one way to find out. I sampled this neat from a glencairn.
The fruit is heavy with this one as I get notes of cherry crumble dessert and even banana bread (which is a trait I have never found in an MGP rye before).
However, it’s the vanilla notes that this has loads of. Almost bordering on too much in fact. That’s why this smells closer to a bourbon than a rye whiskey. It really throws me off.
Palate: The mint is out in full force, this time in the form of Wintergreen gum. Classic MGP notes (at least for me) of pine needles, clove, peppercorns and anise/licorice add the spicy nature that the nose seemed to miss on.
Then comes the heavy vanilla again (almost like a vanilla cake batter). What is up with that? Sweetness comes from raw honey while flower petals give a floral taste with each sip.
Finish: Mint mixes with the taste of fortune cookies while a faint oak taste hangs around. I’m in the zone when I taste leftover notes of pine and gingerbread before they fade away leaving behind more damn vanilla notes.
This is a tough one to score. One one hand, this drinks like a 100-105 proof rye whiskey. It was very soft and not as spicy as I would have thought. The herbal nature of this (lots of mint) was very welcome to me as well. It almost tastes like a Michter’s Barrel Proof Rye.
But on the other hand, the vanilla notes seemed to be a little heavy-handed. I am at a loss for why this is but have read other reviews that seem to pick up on an increasing amount of vanilla in MGP products (to include rye).
Why am I making a big deal about that? Mainly because this is not a note that was typically found in previous generations of MGP rye whiskey (made prior to when MGP bought the Indiana plant). There’s nothing wrong with change, but to have a whiskey’s core profile no longer resemble what it used to be is a bit of a shock.
Fans of MGP rye whiskey typically come for the spice, the brown sugar and the herbal notes. Vanilla kind of tones everything down and removes the boldness that a person usually looks forward to when drinking an Indiana style of rye whiskey.
At least Ray priced it right though, at $69.99, it comes in way under what Bone Snapper picks typically are priced at.
I’m going to conclude this by saying that this Bone Snapper pick is still a good whiskey but one that I was not expecting when I bought it.
It’s kind of like buying tickets to a concert for a band that you loved 10 years ago to find out that they’ve replaced the lead singer but still play all the same songs. But hey, at least the tickets were cheap so you feel like you didn’t waste your money entirely.
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)
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