The SLO in Rod & Hammer’s SLO Stills Rye isn’t a typo, it’s a (widely used) acronym for San Luis Obispo, the anchor city in California’s Paso Robles region. The produces four different whiskeys — two ryes and two bourbons; today we’re looking at its Distiller’s Reserve Rye, which is distilled from a mash of 60% rye (the rest is unstated), and is aged for 12 months in new, 15 gallon casks. SLO Stills is particularly unique in that it is proofed using purified Pacific Ocean water.
As that would indicate, this is young whiskey, heavy on the nose with notes of cereal grains, doughy cookie crumbs, and plenty of fresh wood. It’s a little astringent but approachable, the whiskey’s woodiness domineering over hints of spice and fruit. The palate, it turns out, is a lot more interesting. Aggressive honey and butterscotch elements are paired with secondary notes of baking spice, heavy on the cinnamon, with that barrel influence taking a back seat (but still calling its fair share of the shots). The finish exudes brown butter and vanilla, and while its cookie dough quality feels a bit brashly sweet at times, the whole affair comes together with a surprising level of aplomb, concluding with a touch of mint chocolate that feels appropriate for a denouement.
B+ / $70 / slostills.com