Breweries and distilleries are doing their best to acknowledge our trying times, and Virginia’s Catoctin Creek recently dropped its own charity-focused whiskey, a 100% rye aged in leftover casks from its barrel select program, with profits going to support struggling restaurants and bars. The barrels used represent a hodgepodge of stuff, including an American chardonnay oak cask, an apple brandy cask, and an American imperial stout cask from Stablecraft Brewery in Virginia.
That’s a weird combination of barrels, and sure enough, #InThisTogether is a weird whiskey. The nose is instantly unusual, a combination of camphor and Oriental rug shop, with a clear applejack character in the mix. Notes of sawdust mingle with a curious thyme note, giving the rye a distinctly drying aroma.
On the palate, there’s even more going on. Apple (and caramel apple) hits first, with a slightly winey note picking up soon after. Notes of cloves, ginger powder, and some brine all make for a curious and scattered impact on the tongue, but if you give it ample time in glass, the initially baffling spirit slowly starts to coalesce into something that at least makes some level of sense, though it’s never anything I’d describe as balanced. On the finish, the whiskey evolves notes of baking spice and gingerbread, but the lumberyard notes evident on the nose never fade, wrapping up with a hint of creosote.
Sure, it’s not a showstopper, but here’s the good news: At just $45, it’s an inexpensive investment in a whiskey that’s been produced for a really good cause — so you can still feel good about the purchase even if you don’t absolutely love it.
B / $45 / catoctincreekdistilling.com