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This Whiskey Brand’s Latest Bottle Shows How Rye Evolves as It Ages

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Pinhook is among many whiskey brands that sources its liquid from other distilleries, namely MGP in Indiana and Kentucky’s Castle & Key. But Pinhook has made this practice a bit more interesting with its Vertical Series of rye whiskey, an annual release that is meant to show how the whiskey changes as it ages. The latest release has reached the eight-year-old mark, and it’s a very good rye that is built for sipping or mixing.

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The rye whiskey in the Vertical Series, which is called Tiz Rye Time, is distilled from the standard MGP mashbill of 95 percent rye and five percent malted barley. The first release was just four years old, so this new whiskey offers a chance to see how the liquid has changed at twice that age. I was able to sample the two side-by-side during a recent Zoom tasting with Pinhook founder and master blender Sean Josephs, and the changes the whiskey had undergone were notable. The four-year-old expression was much more fragrant with ample floral and mint notes, a decent rye but on the greener side allowing for plenty of room for development. The eight-year-old, on the other hand, has progressed into a much deeper flavor profile with notes of dark chocolate, caramel, and plum, while still retaining the rye’s inherent spice and a touch of menthol.

“The 8 Year truly exceeded my expectations,” said Josephs in a statement. “Another year of age added a lot of richness and intensity, while maintaining a well balanced finish. Following the Vertical Series Rye as it ages and experiencing the change in flavors from the 4 Year to the 8 Year has been both a surprise and delight.” The whiskey, which is a blend of just 32 barrels bottled at 108.4 proof, will continue to be released once a year until it’s 12 years old, along with the Bourbon War bourbon Vertical Series. In addition to the Vertical Series rye, Pinhook also has its flagship Solo Rye’d which will be released in the coming months. That whiskey was distilled at Castle & Key from a mashbill of 60 percent rye, 20 percent corn, and 20 percent malted barley.

The new 2024 Veritical Series Rye is expected to start arriving at stores and online retailers beginning in early April. In the meantime, you can find the 2023 release (seven years old) available from websites like Wine.com—consider ordering a bottle so you have one on hand to compare the two.

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