Nose: Oak, cedar, hay, rye grain and spices, dark toffee, brown sugar.
Taste: Pepper, rye spices, oak, rich and juicy dates.
Expectations. We all have them: belief that something will happen in the future. Or, that something is supposed to happen. Then again, sometimes things happen that are unexpected.
Take this review for example. Soon, you hope to be reading tasting notes on the whiskey in question. That is a good expectation to have. What you most likely didn’t expect was me paraphrasing a lyric of a Stealer’s Wheel song and turning into a bad dad whisky pun. (Then again, maybe you did. Either way, apologies to the band.) So, what does “expectations” have to with this review? I expect we’ll be touching on that a little bit later. Oh, you could also create “Expected That” and “Didn’t Expect That” columns and include that direction in one or the other.
In today’s glass are a couple of auburn tinged sips from Manifest Distilling’s 100% organic rye whiskey. Said distillery’s location, by the way, is smack dab downtown Jacksonville, Florida. And no, it isn’t the only distillery in Jacksonville. Now, would you expect their rye crop to be grown downtown? Expectedly, it isn’t. Their grain is brought in; however, everything else in the process is done on sight.
Being a 100 proof/50% abv 100% rye, I planned on the rye to being in my metaphorical face with a youthful, perhaps somewhat cocky delivery of rye. Some ryes can be brash, angry as if standing there akimbo with a “What do you think of me know” approach. I put my nose to the glass, gave it a good nosing, put my glass back down and took those expectations and put them in a drawer. Here’s why: on the nose came these wafts of oak, cedar, hay. Almost as if one was out standing in a field of rye. After putting away my expectations and going for a second nosing, from the fields came the finish. Yes, there is rye spice and yes there is a rye presence; however, it’s polished – not brash. The rye is richly enveloped in dark toffee and brown sugar. There’s not hat-on-backwards attitude going on here. It’s not sedate and meek either. It’s deliciously refined and cultivated. So that naturally called for an exploratory sup.
Again, the oak does a lot of the talking at the beginning but shortly after, pepper and rye spices come up with their two cents worth. And again, as I was expecting some alcohol heat and ryegression those last two didn’t show up. Its approachable gentility certainly belies it’s 100 proof delivery. And while the pepper and rye spices are noticeable, the richness of juicy, fresh dates really made me want a second sip to see-taste if I wasn’t hearing-taste things. (Nope – I wasn’t.) The finish on this whiskey is long with a couple of o-o-o’s thrown in the middle as if it settled back in its favourite and put its feet up.
Chances are, you’ve heard the term “Manifest Destiny” along the way to where you are right now. It refers to American continental expansion. In fact, under President James Polk, a firm believer in MD, his government gained slash secured territories that are now New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming and California. (You can always expect history in and from your whisky.) With MD – uh, Manifest Distilling this time – what I appreciated was enjoying something I didn’t expect. This 100% rye is billed as “what grown-ups like to drink.” Well, if I can paraphrase another song’s lyric, this time from The Pursuit Of Happiness: “I’m glad I’m an adult now.” Cheers.