I saw a Masterson's Rye at TPS when I was in your area the other day John. I didn't see anywhere on the box indicating which batch it is. Any insight?
John B. was kind enough to send me a sample of batch #3. The following are my thoughts.
Masterson's Rye Batch #3. 10yr, 100% Canadian Rye, 45% (90 proof)
Color: Light brown with a yellow tint.
Nose: Soft and perfumey, the scents slowly elevate from the glass. Nothing overpowering here. Baked rye bread, ginger snaps, and coffee cake. This is a very elegant, easy nose that deserves your time. A touch of cinnamon butter and a hint of nutmeg. Outstanding!
Taste: Very subtle, soft, spicy entry. A quick dash of pepper that rapidly changes to toasted rye bread. Ground turmeric and dry mustard emerge and give this one an earthy, slightly pungent, bitter flavor up front. This note has faded with the 3rd and 4th sip as well as some time in the glass, but it's still present. Allspice and ground cardamon spring up mid-palate. Baking spices play throughout with a soft hint of oregano on exit.
Finish: Mildly bitter with notes of bay leaf and cloves. Medium length, there is the slightest tangy, dill weed presence as this one begins to fade.
Rating: This was so close to being an epic rye and another stellar offering from Alberta, Canada. It has an exceptional nose and a very well rounded, refined palate. But that bitter turmeric, dry mustard note cannot be denied and lurks within every sip. Unfortunately, this is a deal breaker for me. I know this one frequently gets lumped in with Whistle Pig and Jefferson's, but to my palate, it is night and day different. Whistle Pig is still head of the class with Jefferson's coming in 2nd and Masterson's bringing up the rear. This aligns with my previous assessment of Masterson's Batch #1 as I came to the same conclusion. In the end, I'm still reaching for the Whistle Pig with the Jefferson's not too far behind. I'm scoring this one an 85.
Thanks for the sample John!!!!
Awesome tasting notes. I just managed to find a batch #3 at my local shop. Kept thinking "man this reminds me of indian food", couldn't place the spices. Having not tried the other two (Whistle Pig and Jeffersons) i'm giving this 1st place of 1 for Canadian Ryes i've tried!
Need to find an excuse to grab the Jeffersons next time i'm there.
I'm going to update now with a Batch 5 assessment.
The Masterson rye: sourced at LCBO this week, $75.00 (price has come down over 25% recently).
Nose: only light chemical notes, warm smoked wood, very light spice
Taste: sweeter and richer than earlier batches I've had, seemingly more mature (older?). Wood better integrated with the distillery notes. Very well balanced, smooth and glycerine-like, but you still get the straight character especially in the finish.
Overall: Best batch ever IMO, and a comparative bargain considering the price drop.
I decided to pick up a Batch 5 today when I saw it for $57.
I wasn't expecting a revelation, but it's good quality. I like it more than Ritt BIB and Baby Saz in a side by side, so it beats the value competition. As you mentioned, Gary, the balance and silky smooth mouthfeel really make it a nice sipper. I want to crack open a new bottle of Rendezvous Rye to compare, which is my current favorite in the mid-priced rye category.
I also tried a 50/50 of Masterson's and Baby Saz, which was nice.
I like that vatting of ryes! I feel current Rendezvous is not as good as Masterson's and the bulk of it surely is (at 6 years age with a seasoning of 16) considerably younger of course. I was considering a mingle of these latter two but don't think it would work. Funny you mentioned Baby Saz because the Masterson reminds me somewhat of it...