Formerly made at the Koval Distillery, Journeyman is now making it at home. The mashbill is an unusual blend of Minnesota rye and (heavy) Michigan wheat, no corn. It is aged for an unstated amount of time in 15-gallon new oak barrels, then bottled at 90 proof.
This is clearly a younger rye but don’t let that turn you off — it’s quite lovable. The nose: Spicy, with clear (but pleasant) grain notes. The body brings a rush of sweetness, plenty of vanilla from those smaller barrels, but it’s not overdone like many small-barrel whiskeys. You won’t find sawdust or wood oil notes here, just fresh sugar mixed with racy baking spices, some citrus, and light touches of coal dust. The light funk of young whiskey does come along to mar an otherwise truly delightful rye, but that’s to be expected in a whiskey that’s clearly in its toddler years. Light and spry, this is a solid rye for almost any application.
Reviewed: Batch #4, Bottle #947 (375ml).