Coalition Whiskey is an unusual outfit making not just high-test rye but also a variety of renditions of the spirit, each aged in a different type of Bordeaux wine barrel — Sauternes, Margaux, and Pauillac being the three varieties available. This is 100% rye made from local Kentucky grains, aged five years before bottling. We covered the Barrel Proof version a few months back. Now we’re digging into the Margaux expression, which is finished in Bordeaux casks sourced from the Margaux region.
Take the bread-heavy base of Coalition Rye Barrel Proof and funnel it through cardboard and you’ve got this baffling whiskey, which evokes neither rye nor Bordeaux wine. The heavily charred, smoky nose is pungent with smoldering wood notes, much like Coalition’s unfinished expression, though intense notes of toasted grains and roasted green vegetables manage to push through. The palate is something else, laden with creosote, lots of wet earth, mushroom, and more of that green vegetation. Decidedly musty and incredibly funky, the finish evokes the essence of rye, as if it had been put away wet in the barn for a month or two to dry out. Only it never did.
No idea where the Margaux barrel is here. This one’s a misfire from the start.