The fall bourbon releases are upon us. Where did 2022 go!? As usual, the Remus Repeal Reserve is one of the earliest out of the gate. This limited edition bourbon is brought to us by Ross & Squibb Distillery, formerly MGP (although it’s probably still OK to call them MGP). Remus Repeal Reserve VI marks the first Repeal Reserve release under the new name and, more importantly, the first for the distillery’s new master distiller, Ian Stirsman, who was promoted back in January. It’s a blend of five different high-rye bourbons aged between 8 and 14 years, although the vast majority is 8 to 10 years old, making this one of the younger overall releases to date. To be specific, Repeal Reserve VI is a mix of just 2% 2008 bourbon (21% rye), 17% 2012 bourbon (36% rye), 27% 2012 bourbon (21% rye), 29% 2014 bourbon (21% rye), and 25% 2014 bourbon (36% rye). The last pair of releases in this series were impressive. Can Ross & Squibb’s new master distiller keep that winning streak alive?
Survey says yes. The aroma is light but complex, showcasing candied citrus, juicy black cherry, and Haribo peaches. You might expect all that fruity sweetness to overwhelm everything else, but a layer of wet leather and toasted oak helps to restrain things, alongside some dark baking spice that builds softly as it opens. A joy just to nose, but it gets bolder and better on the palate. Initial notes are of sweet fruit, a bit darker than the aroma with dried raisins and cherries and plenty of well-seasoned oak to keep things from skewing syrupy. The mid-palate sees toasty barrel char, cinnamon stick, toffee, and Andes mints before turning a bit more fruit-forward into the generous finish with notes of blood orange and cherry cola that linger and linger. An impressively approachable and beautifully balanced bourbon. The classic, baking spice-filled releases of yesteryear have been consistently top quality, but it’s impressive to see a new master distiller take things in a slightly different direction and do it so well. A walk-off homer for the new guy and an easy contender for our Top 10 Whiskeys of 2022.