MGP has only recently taken off the gloves and decided to enter the whiskey scene with their own lineup of distilled spirits. Before that, they were known for sourcing all of their whiskey and spirits out to other companies but then they wised up and realized how much the market was booming. In 2015, the former master distiller, Greg Metze, helped launch a label called “Metze’s Select Medley.” He took various high and low rye MGP bourbons aged around 8-10 years and blended them into a product that really offered a glimpse into the potential of the stocks that were available there.
A big selling point to enthusiasts was that MGP decided to be extra transparent and they listed the age and ratios of the bourbons that they used in that bottle. But when Greg Metze left MGP, the bottle evolved into a new label named Remus Repeal Reserve. MGP still decided to carry on the tradition of blending various bourbon mashbills with high age statements into a regular, yearly release.
Remus Repeal Reserve
The first batch of RRR was only proofed to 94 proof. But the second batch (what I’m reviewing today) has increased to an even 100 proof. My opinion is that the high price (mid $70s) of the first batch was not viewed as value enough for a starter label, so either the price had to decrease or the proof had to increase to validate the price. Typically, I see stores carry RRR 1 at a price tag of $65 and RRR 2 hovered around $80-85. If I didn’t enjoy MGP bourbon so much, I would probably say “hard pass” on this. But is it worth your time? I sampled this neat from a glencairn.
Nose: The nose starts off with a fantastic deep, seasoned wood scent. There’s a sweetness that you find with baked goods like caramel apples from the county fair, baked cherry tarts, cinnamon spice and molasses.
Palate: A wallop of dark brown sugar and cinnamon keep the baked good trend going while some black pepper flakes, musty oak and a faint taste of maple candies add complexity and more richness.
Finish: Some of the rye spice starts coming through, letting you know that there is high-rye inside. A small amount of mint leaves a menthol cooling sensation on the tongue. The residual sweetness that sticks around reminds me of a mix of brown sugar and maple syrup.
I genuinely enjoyed my session with RRR 2. But one thing that I can’t stop thinking about is other high-aged (10-12 year) MGP bourbons I’ve had like Blaum Bros ($80), The Ambassador ($100) and various Belle Meades Single Barrels (+$100) demonstrated the full intensity of a cask strength MGP bourbon at a price that was right around this bottle but offered more proof and age. On a positive note, a little bit more sweetness and fruit notes shines through from a typical 12 year old single barrel from MGP, but since the juice has been proofed down to 100 proof, some of that intensity has been lost.
This is still a slightly overpriced bourbon in my eyes only because I look at a bottle like Elijah Craig Barrel Proof that gives lots of flavor, a 12 year age statement and doesn’t proof anything down and still keeps it in the $60 range. But I’m not blind as I generally believe MGP bourbon is a more premium product than Heaven Hill distillate (I’ll wait for the collective gasping to stop), however at this price, age and proof point as well the fact that MGP cut out the middleman (see: merchant bottler), then there’s no way this couldn’t come down in price just a little bit to make it more accessible.
1 | Disgusting | Drain pour
2 | Poor | Forced myself to drink it
3 | Bad | Flawed
4 | Sub-par | Many things I’d rather have
5 | Good | Good, solid, ordinary
6 | Very Good | Better than average
7 | Great | Well above average
8 | Excellent | Exceptional
9 | Incredible | Extraordinary
10 | Insurpassable | Nothing Else Comes Close
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