Nashville Barrel Company is a new brand, and as with many upstarts, they’re relying on sourced products to get the company up and running. Unlike some other upstarts, they don’t seem to have immediate aspirations of opening their own distillery (at least for now). Instead, they’re focusing efforts on a brick-and-mortar tasting room, bottling center, and corporate offices set to open in Nashville’s Railyard District later this year. While they won’t be distilling their own whiskey anytime soon, the founders have been around important whiskey circles for years. The founding ownership group includes Mike Hinds, who sits on the board of Bourbon Charity and is listed as their “Chief Bourbon Guy.” James Davenport serves as the lead “mix master” responsible for blending their initial line of spirits.
That brings us to the whiskey itself. The company launched with a Small Batch Rye, with Batch 1 featuring a blend of four and seven year ryes; Batch 2 is a “duet” of four and eight year rye. The whiskey has a 95/5 mash bill of rye and malted barley, all sourced from Indiana. (Astute rye drinkers will note these are common hallmarks of an MGP-sourced product.) Batch 2 comes in at 100 proof with a run of 15,000 bottles.
The company also offers a Single Barrel Rye, with a Single Barrel Bourbon and a Barrel Aged Rum launching in the coming months. Let’s see how Small Batch Rye Batch 2 holds up.
The rye has an appealing caramel color that holds up well in a glass but doesn’t feature the more amber or purple tints from some others on the market today. On the nose, the rye hits quickly with floral and fruity notes, with a bit of lingering citrus and walnut. The characteristic scent of rye spice soon follows, though it’s a slightly lighter note than many other MGP-sourced ryes you’re likely to find. On first sip, the whiskey is sweeter, with notes of caramel, cinnamon, cocoa, and vanilla. (The vanilla continues to open up with each drink.) The spice coalesces on the palate with a welcome note of black pepper that plays in harmony with the sweeter and fruitier flavors.
The label was accurate in describing this as a “duet,” and while it’d be easy for a less refined blend to pull too heavily in one direction, Batch 2 maintains its balance from sip to sip. On the finish, honey and rye spice linger, but the coating isn’t thick to the point of being unpleasant or sticky. There’s a whole lot to like with no discernible off notes. Enjoy neat by itself or with a meal to play on the rye’s complex yet almost shockingly balanced profile.
Nashville Rye Batch 2 is a great pour that will please rye drinkers with a range of flavor preferences, from a welcoming nose all the way through a lingering — but not overpowering — finish. It’s a sourced duet that works in near-perfect harmony. Whiskey fans, take note: If Nashville Barrel Company can continue to produce this quality of blends, their forthcoming releases certainly deserve your attention.
100 proof. Reviewed: Batch #2.