Redwood Empire’s bonded bourbon and ryes — Grizzly Beast and Rocket Top, respectively — only arrived earlier in 2022, but now the company is back with a second batch of whiskeys, albeit slightly different from the first batch. These are fully produced “grain to glass” offerings made entirely in California and in keeping with the strict tenets of the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897.
Ready for round 2? Let’s dig in.
Redwood Empire Grizzly Beast Bottled in Bond Bourbon Batch #2 – A slight variation find this now made from a mash of 66% corn, 23% rye, 7% wheat, and 4% barley, with the wheat knocked up a bit over batch #1. Aged five years in #3 charred barrels. It’s initially fruity on the nose, showing light notes of strawberry at times, with caramel and toffee notes plus a modest underpinning of wood that grows stronger with time in glass. Overall quite gentle, notes of banana and milk chocolate keep the palate lively, the oak well-tempered as it shows elements of coconut husk, toasted walnuts, and some apple crumble on the finish. Much less woody and overall far milder than Drew’s notes on Batch #1 suggest, this is a lively and considerably more approachable whiskey that feels wholly agreeable, if not exactly complex. 100 proof. A- / $80
Redwood Empire Rocket Top Bottled in Bond Rye Whiskey Batch #2 – This batch’s Rocket Top becomes a four-grain whiskey as well, composed of 87% rye, 5% wheat, 5% malted barley, and 3% corn, the corn being the new addition. Five years old, again. This feels like rye from the start, and a big one, with a grassy, almost weedy nose that evokes dill and cut hay over all else. The palate is just as aggressive, peppery and heavy with the green side of the dried spice cabinet — thyme and oregano, and more of that dill weed. A slather of caramel brightens up the finish with some much-needed sweetness, but on the whole the balance on this rye feels like it’s weighted too far toward its dusty dry, grassy side — again, something of a departure from batch #1. 100 proof. B / $80