Ever since Greg Metze joined Old Elk as master distiller at their launch, the NDP (non-distiller producer) has steadily released different twists on traditional whiskey formulations through the years, though still with undisclosed sourced distillate. Drinkhacker has stayed close with their latest releases, beginning with their first blended offering 2017 and checking back in with their subsequent rye and several wheated expressions in 2019 and 2020. Old Elk is now offering limited edition releases as part of their Master’s Blend Series.
Let’s see what they’ve been up to in the last couple of years.
Old Elk Double Wheat Straight Whiskey – As the name suggests, Old Elk has doubled down on their wheated whiskey offering by blending “two of Old Elk’s most beloved and awarded wheater whiskeys: Old Elk Straight Wheat Whiskey and Old Elk Wheated Bourbon, creating a unique pour,” which Drinkhacker reviewed in 2020. The whiskeys are aged between 6 to 8 years, and mashbill comprises 71.5% wheat, 25% corn, and 3.5% barley. The nose is fruity and crisp with a touch of mint alongside cinnamon-forward mulled cider. The palate is greeted instantly with the same bright cinnamon spiciness, with cocoa powder driving a drier profile than the nose. The profile quickly pivots to reinforce the heavy amount of wheat in the blend, showcasing the bold but soft grains. For fans of wheated whiskeys, this is a solid addition that exhibits some keen blending technique that highlights the most rewarding notes of the originals, while still delivering something different and satisfying on its own terms. 107.1 proof. A-
Old Elk Four Grain Straight Bourbon Whiskey – The four grain is a new path for Old Elk, with a mashbill of 51% corn, 22.5% wheat, 19% barley, and 7.5% rye. From this 6 to 7 year old blend we are to expect, in Old Elk’s own words, a “smooth base with hints of almond, vanilla, maple, and spices.” Indeed, in stark contrast to the Double Wheat, there is a creamier profile here with almond and vanilla undertones. The nose is a nod to pastry dough (macarons or cannoli perhaps) and the palate starts off with an herb-forward spiciness that hints at a grass-driven mustiness. That gives way to mint and peppercorn, plus lesser but still present notes of cocoa, almond extract, and cinnamon. Maple syrup sneaks in alongside the cinnamon and raisin notes. This expression is also very well executed, providing a complex and interesting experience in which the various grains are neither overshadowed or overwhelming. 105.9 proof. A-
each $100 / oldelk.com