Catoctin Creek‘s latest special edition rye is “Life’s a Peach,” a highly limited expression (547 bottles produced) of its 100% Virginia rye whiskey that is finished for one year in Short Hill Mountain Peach Brandy barrels. It’s the first time Catoctin — which is known for unusual special editions and weird finishes like this one — has released a peach brandy finished rye to the public.
Peaches and American whiskey tend to go great together, so let’s see what Catoctin Creek has cooked up for us.
From start to finish, the peach influence is clear, though to various degrees. While things start out a bit musty on the nose, in short order a sharp and quite perfumed fruitiness emerges, one which is immediately reminiscent of applejack. The palate is far fruitier than the nose, peach and apricot notes leading the way to a rather sharp, slightly antiseptic character as the fruit begins to fade. Again, it’s reminiscent of that industrial quality that younger applejack has, though more traditional notes of biscuits, sesame, and some barrel char elements come to the fore after the more pungent qualities fade a bit. The finish is surprisingly soft and floral, with notes of nougat balanced by hints of pepper and rosemary, which gives the experience some bite.
There’s plenty of peach in this bottle, but it doesn’t really resonate with the underlying whiskey as well as it seems like it should, the finished product coming across as a bit scattered. I’d perhaps suggest that a longer initial aging and a shorter finishing cycle might have served this expression better, but that’s just throwing seeds. That said, I’d definitely mix cocktails with it.
80 proof. Reviewed: Bottle #494/547.