Wheel Horse is a sourced whiskey distilled at Kentucky’s O.Z. Tyler — and in fact it’s the first rye (95% rye, 5% malted barley) to come out of O.Z. (and its forebears) since the company was founded. The bottler is Ocean State Distillers, based in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. The whiskey itself carries no age statement as a straight rye it’s at least two years old; it’s also bottled at high proof: 50.5% abv.
Let’s give it a try.
There’s no mistaking the 95% rye mashbill here: The nose of the whiskey is boldy spicy, heavy with black pepper, cloves, and barrel char. It takes on a distinctly hoppy note, with lots of earthy, almost dank spices building quickly. On the palate, the whiskey is more of a mix of sweet and savory notes, with elements of apple cider and brown butter smoothing out some of its rough, rustic edges. Sweeter baking spice and almond notes are also evident on the finish, though that earthy, peppery character is never far away.
This is a big and intense — but still quite young — rye. It’s interesting as is, but the future seems much more filled with promise.
101 proof. Reviewed: Batch #1.