Review: Old Elk Wheat N’ Rye

Review: Old Elk Wheat N’ Rye

Old Elk Wheat N Rye

Old Elk‘s newest release is a combination of two whiskeys we rarely — if ever — see blended together: wheat and rye. Appropriately dubbed Wheat N’ Rye, the whiskey is a combination of 7 year-old straight wheat whiskey (95 percent wheat, 5 percent malted barley) and 6 year-old straight rye (95 percent rye, 5 percent malted barley). Per a brand representative, both components of the blend were distilled by MGP in Indiana and aged at Old Elk Distillery in Colorado.

Wheat N’ Rye is the latest in Old Elk’s Master’s Blend series from the mind of Master Distiller Greg Metze. It’s bottled at 54.2% abv. Let’s see if the “sweet and spicy whiskey” — the brand’s own description — sits harmoniously on the palate.

Fruity cereal, marzipan, and rock candy lead a sweet-forward nose. Rye spice lies below, more baking and holiday spices than vegetal, though there is just a kiss of fresh cut grass for a greener element. A light but noticeable undercurrent of varnish weaves through each individual note on the nose, as does almond extract.

As promised, on the tongue, the interplay between sweet and spicy is the star. But is it harmony or a tug-of-war? Sweetness starts on the tip of the tongue and builds to rye-forward spice as the whiskey reaches the middle and back palates. The sweet notes are predominately ark caramel, brown sugar, and honeysuckle. As for the spice, cinnamon bark, allspice, and just a tiny bit of saffron shine through. There’s not as much in the way of fruit or acidity here, but on the third or fourth sip, baked apples come into play. The blend has a thick and satisfying mouthfeel, along with a slight numbing quality on the upper palate, which is slightly distracting from the finish (more on that below).

Said finish is spice-forward and long, reminding you of every bit of its 108.4 proof on the way down. It’s not a terribly complex conclusion, turning slightly toward rye bread and then bitter cocoa and steeped coffee as the spiciness dissipates.

108.4 proof.

B+ / $110 /

Old Elk Wheat N' Rye




David Tao is a writer for Drinkhacker.

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