Review: Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskey Edition Four
Sugarlands Distilling is best known for its wackily flavored moonshines and “sippin’ creams,” but it’s slowly been moving upmarket, into the realm of real whiskey. It’s called Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskey, and six editions have been released to date. These are tiny, tiny releases. Edition Five was made up of just 600 bottles, and the release sold out in less than two hours. (Previously the whiskey had to be picked up at Sugarlands HQ in Tennessee.) Edition Six came out a few weeks ago, so I’m not hopeful that you’ll find much on the market today, though it is slowly making its way to retail, this one to “Liquor Barn stores in Kentucky and in select retailers in East Tennessee and Nashville” — as well as at Bounty Hunter Rare Wine and Spirits. (As I write this, Bounty Hunter still has some in stock.)
What we’re looking at today actually is Edition Four, an old release but all that was on hand for us to review, a blend of just three large and small barrels alternately carrying ages of 2 years, 8 months and 2 years, 10 months. The mash is 51% rye, 46% corn, 4% barley.
While I realize you can’t find Edition Four these days — and subsequent editions keep getting older — it should still be somewhat emblematic of the style of the whiskey in general.
As its age-stated youth would indicate, this is still a rather primitive whiskey, and rough around the edges. The nose is heavy with wood but somewhat intriguing, with ample corn and cereal notes, but showing an undercurrent of spice, leather, and gunpowder character. On the palate, a more classically youthful profile is revealed, with ample barrel char up front riding alongside an ample tobacco character. Quite green and a bit vegetal at times, the oily, lingering finish finally percolates up some sweetness, though there’s so much lumberyard in the mix it’s hard to parse it out.
All told, it’s promising stuff, but just not quite ready for prime time. Given the way Sugarlands is trickling this stuff out as barrels get closer and closer to maturity, it sounds like this fact has not been lost on them.
B- / $50 (375ml) / sugarlands.com