Review: Old Elk Straight Rye Whiskey and Straight Wheat Whiskey (2019)
Former MGP master distiller Greg Metze’s Old Elk Distillery came out of the gate with a unique blended bourbon a couple of years ago, and now the line is expanding with two new expressions, a straight rye and a wheat whiskey. Like Old Elk Bourbon, both are sourced, their actual origins undisclosed.
The company explained a bit more about their creation by sending us this:
Although some of our mashbills are custom, these two are favorites of Greg Metze and were produced under his leadership specifically for Old Elk. We are also currently aging more custom mashbills in each category that will be launched once they are of age. We took this approach as part of our initial investment plan to build inventory. Today, Old Elk has its own distillery managed by a great team, led by Greg, that crafts our products.
Of special note, both are also sold exclusively at Old Elk’s Fort Collins tasting room. We got ’em both, so let’s dig in.
Both are bottled at 100 proof.
Old Elk Straight Rye Whiskey (2019) – Aged three years, no mash information available. The nose is initially quite dusty, then developing a more floral-driven character including notes of pungent incense, eucalyptus, and dried flowers — almost like a heavy potpourri. The palate however is quite spice-driven, with plenty of wood informing a dry cedar box note, dusty and husky with a hefty mix of herbs folded into the mix. The finish is again quite drying, toasty with oak and a bit peppery, too. It’s altogether a fairly traditional and well-crafted presentation of rye, though in this increasingly crowded market it doesn’t wholly stand out. B+ / $90 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]
Old Elk Straight Wheat Whiskey (2019) – Also denoted as “Wheated Whiskey” on its label, this whiskey carries no age information. On first blush it’s not immediately obvious that this is a wheat whiskey, the nose hitting with a sweeter composition, distinctly floral and slightly woody. Some red fruit and a gentle red pepper note all emerge in time. On the palate, notes of sugar cookies and pecan sandies give this whiskey an even more fanciful body, with notes of vanilla, toasted oats, and cinnamon all providing plenty to delight the tongue. The finish evokes sweet breakfast cereal while being informed by a gentle wood character. One could easily mistake this for a sweeter style of bourbon — which may be either a good or a bad thing, depending on your point of view. A- / $70 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]