The Single Cask Nation Midwest Grain Products Rye Whiskey 8 Year Old Cask #52 has a top note of venison in a foil packet thrown into the hottest part of a campfire with ash and fat sizzling on the edges. It has a middle note of ‘new buoy’ that is post-factory, pre-ocean, and mysteriously covered in barnacles. The bottom note is cherry denuded of sweet but still far from the sour end of the spectrum. The upper middle note is watermelon zested over capicola ham by your grandfather’s teak-handled rasp. The lower middle note is a Wiccan-produced sachet for a rough-hewn pine drawer filled with plaid flannel shirts, bowler hats, essciated sea monkeys, and autumn-scented candles sold by John’s daughter: That is to say, some serious five-part harmony is going on: Bach is jealous.
Shifting to the mouth involves large cedar twigs lathed into the shape of celery sticks, dragged through onion dip that are cunningly laid out at boring cocktail parties involving your least favorite co-workers. Will dental work be required? If so, the rye-based anaesthetic and lilac flowers will ease their suffering. Because there are no bones about and no more hiding nor beating around the bush: Once this hits the tongue, the barbershop quintet gives way to RYE.
The caramel on the finish forms a vase and the many strands artfully fall into place, making a complex standing wave in the pipe-organ tube of my throat. The warm numbing spreads across my tongue to my gums like tucking an Amish quilt stuffed with emu down over my trio of sleeping ferrets. Goodnight, sweet Prince, sweet Billy Idol, sweet Madonna. (Yes, they’re named after 80s singers. Is that a problem?) Their tiny paws skitter, like that 60.9 abv tingle, and the motet ends.
–Our thanks to Single Cask Nation for the sample!