Kentucky residents and bourbon mega-fans Kenny Coleman and Ryan Cecil have built a small media empire with Bourbon Pursuit, arguably the most popular bourbon-focused podcast across multiple platforms. Beginning in 2018, they started leveraging that audience for regular releases of single barrel whiskeys. And in 2021, they launched Pursuit United Bourbon, a blended product sourced from three different states: Kentucky, New York, and Tennessee.
Their new release is a blended straight rye whiskey, sourced from Bardstown Bourbon Company and Sagamore Spirit. The blend uses Sagamore’s 52% rye, 43% corn, and 5% malted barley mashbill, along with 95% rye / 5% malted barley mashbills from both Sagamore and Bardstown. While the bottle doesn’t feature an age statement, Pursuit says all components are over four years old starting with batches released in summer 2022.
Pursuit United co-founder Kenny Coleman say the blend is intended to honor rye traditions across two states: “Creating the blend using Kentucky and Maryland rye whiskey was a way to pay homage to two historically significant rye whiskey producing states.”
Pursuit United Blended Straight Rye Whiskey clocks in at 108 proof. Let’s dive in.
The whiskey starts sweet on the nose, and the lower-rye mashbill is certainly pulling some weight here with classic bourbon notes fighting for supremacy. There’s dark fruit and baking spice, then finally classic rye mint one might expect from a 95/5 mashbill (though it doesn’t hit immediately or as intensely, likely again due to the blend). Then orange rind and a note of metallic copper. There’s impressive complexity here, and it’s tough to pick out dominating fragrances. This is a fun one to nose, so much so that it’s easy to forget we should actually be drinking it.
On the tongue, there’s an immediate hit of rye spice, then a young/green oak. A second sip gives way to mint (spearmint, to be specific) with less overall sweetness than I anticipated based on the nose. There’s also a brandy syrup quality to this, with a thick mouthfeel that spreads out and sits across the palate.
The finish brings more mint and baking spice — we’re into more “classical,” high-rye territory now — and notes of fruitcake (dried fruits and candied cherries being especially prominent). The flavors linger as the whiskey sits, syrupy but not unpleasant.
I found myself so intrigued by the nose that I was ever so slightly let down by the palate, though even that proved quite sippable. The blend of 95/5 and “just barely legally rye” mashbills is intriguing, though not entirely novel. While this doesn’t stand among the very top tier of blended straight rye whiskey, it’s a solid first release from a two-person blending team that seems like they’re just getting warmed up.
A- / $65 / pursuitspirits.com