Minor Case Rye
Limestone Branch Distilling, ran by Steve Beam, is a relatively new player on the scene and has launched a few labels that have been using primarily sourced juice since they began operations. Their Yellowstone line is now incorporating their own bourbon into the 93 proof standard label and even some of it makes its way into their Limited Edition label.
Along with bourbon, though, comes the Minor Case rye brand. Minor Case is a 2 year old MGP rye that is finished for 8-12 months in #44 sherry cream casks sourced from Meier’s Winery. Why sherry cream? It’s to help round out the young distillate’s rough edges and is supposed to give it a softer, more creamy mouthfeel.
Nose: Young rye traits of fresh cut grass, allspice, cinnamon and very tart cherries. There’s a little bit of ethanol burn but then the sherry wine really starts to overtake the scents with its sweet fruitiness. There’s even some sweet vanilla bean scents. Overall, it’s a very pleasurable nose that gives me a lot of the same notes as High West’s Midwinter’s Night Dram.
Palate: The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy while still carrying some hotter rye spices, indicating the base rye’s young age. There are some cherry syrup notes that start to get caught up in a sort of “mulled wine” flavor that’s like drinking in the winter holidays. Spices like cinnamon, allspice, clove and star anise are all present, but somewhat toned down either due to the low proof or the sherry cream. Or both! This bottle really begins to open up the more you drink it, releasing even more flavors.
Finish: Up until now, the whole dram is beating my expectations in what to expect with something so young. But the flavor develops a somewhat bitter note and reveals a peppery spice once the air hits your tongue. This isn’t to say that the whole finish is devoid of sweetness, as there is some salted caramel and buttery notes to go along with some of that sherry wine. But it isn’t as sweet or as long lasting as I was hoping for.
As I’ve already mentioned, I found Minor Case Rye Whiskey shares a lot of similarities with Midwinter’s Night Dram (which is finished in port instead of sherry casks). The sherry cream did a great job of covering up the young rye’s more harsh characteristics, but I think this has the ability to be even more fantastic and worth maybe double the price tag that it’s currently at. Speaking of price tag, I paid $45 for this bottle, but I’ve seen this bottle as low as $40 at some places.
I’m unsure if the new style bottle (with white contrast paint on the raised surfaces) has bumped up the price, but I’d say that at $45, this bottle is pushing the envelope for value. Granted, there is little out there that is as unique as this. But if they ever sourced in a 5-6 year old rye instead of just a 2 year old, this would be an excellent contender against Christmas-time fan favorite Midwinter’s Night Dram. If that happens, let’s just hope it won’t ever be as allocated!
As a final note, I would like to note the surprising success I’ve had with adding various wines (a teaspoon at a time) to various MGP rye whiskey I own. The results are almost always 85-90% there to some of these better finished rye whiskies out there. I’m sure aging in an oak barrel that wines were stored in adds even more layers, but if you want to find out for yourself if you like finished rye whiskies before you go out and buy some, I suggest adding some wine to your next dram of rye (or let it marry for a week or so in a mason jar). Cheers!
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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