Review: McClintock Distilling Bootjack Rye and Matchstick Bourbon
We recently reviewed some of McClintock Distilling’s clear spirits offerings, but what about the whiskey!? Well, they’ve got it, but it’s in short supply. Bootjack Rye and Matchstick Bourbon have seen only two small releases since the distillery opened in 2016, and both of those sold out quickly before they could hit many liquor store shelves. The owners tell us they are filling as many barrels as possible with plans to scale up their whiskey production at a bigger space in the near future. Like their other spirits, all of the grains used in bourbon and rye production are certified organic. They focus on heirloom grains, hoping to recreate classic Maryland whiskey styles (especially rye). They also preach the importance of milling, a rarely discussed aspect of whiskey-making. To that end, McClintock is one of the very few distilleries using a Stone Burr Mill to minimize friction in their milling and avoid burning off the light and aromatic flavors in the grain. Let’s taste!
McClintock Distilling Bootjack Rye – In traditional Maryland style, this whiskey is made with a mashbill high in rye (75% Abruzzi rye), but the remainder of the recipe is somewhat unsual: 20% Red Fife wheat and 5% Yellow King corn. It is aged for 2 years in 30-gallon, medium char barrels. On the nose, there’s white pepper, clove chewing gum, and blackberry. It shows some youth, but with air I get a really unique note of freshly cut coconut. The palate is a mix of sweet cereals and fruity rye spice showing clove candies, mixed berry jam, and warm banana bread. It drinks on the younger side, as expected, but there’s a wonderful balance of flavors here and a syrupy mouthfeel that really sets this one apart from a lot of other craft ryes. 90 proof. B+ / $42
McClintock Distilling Matchstick Bourbon – This is a unique wheated bourbon mash at only 51% Yellow King and Gem Glass corn, 30% Red Fife wheat, and 19% Abruzzi rye. A high rye wheater? Apparently. It ages for 2 1/2 years in the same 30-gallon, medium char new oak barrels used for the rye. The nose is gentle with woodshop, candy apple, and pie spice, but on the palate, things really shine with plenty of black pepper and toasted wood. The barrel notes are prevalent, in fact, but these aren’t the dry, small barrel-aged lumberyard flavors typically found in younger craft bourbons. The palate is almost creamy, in fact, with impressive balance for a younger whiskey. The finish is generous, dominated by a fire-roasted marshmallow note. 90 proof. A- / $52