Our coverage of Pinhook’s Vertical Series has come in fits and starts over the years, but we’ve managed to follow the ‘Tiz Rye Time’ rye whiskey line the closest. As a reminder, this is a rye whiskey distilled at MGP from their well-known 95% rye and 5% malted barley recipe. Small batch blends have been released annually since 2020 and are slated to continue until 2028, allowing fans a yearly glimpse of the whiskey’s evolution in the barrel from 4 to 12 years old. According to Pinhook, this latest release is the smallest batch to date, comprising only 28 barrels. We saw appreciable change between the inaugural 4-year expression and the 5-year-old release in 2021. Unfortunately, we missed last year’s 6-year-old offering, so let’s see what two additional years of barrel aging have done for this one.
There’s still an herbal edge to the nose, but it’s noticeably sweeter now with a layer of dark caramel and milk chocolate-covered mints. It remains fresh and bright but not nearly as green or vegetal as the younger releases. As it opens in the glass, baking spice and oak notes give way to green tea and honey. While age has clearly enhanced the aroma, those extra years in the barrel have been a bit aggressive with the palate. An opening salvo of barrel char and dry oak is followed quickly by a flourish of rye spice, wintergreen, and woody tannins. Sweeter, softer notes of dark cherry and root beer arrive with the finish which lingers with fresh-cracked black pepper, muddled mint, and a bit of butterscotch. Still a bold and flavorful rye worthy of consideration. Not regressing, to be sure, but proof that age doesn’t always bring dramatic improvement to a whiskey.
B+ / $80 / pinhookbourbon.com