Out Nashville buddies the Nelson brothers recently released two new whiskeys — one, a sourced rye bottled under the Nelson Bros. brand, the other a cask strength Tennessee whiskey made by the Nelsons directly, bottled to celebrate the recent completion of the distillery’s renovation (which no includes a restaurant on site).
Let’s dig in to both.
Nelson Bros. Rye Whiskey – Sourced rye from parts unknown (not even the state), no age statement. Light on its feet, with a toasty nose that evokes barrel char over rye bread, then notes of brown banana, walnuts, and chocolate malt balls. Surprisingly sweet and fruity on the palate, the whiskey doesn’t instantly connote rye, with more banana plus notes of nutmeg and a hearty baked apple character. More classic, herb-driven notes build with time in glass, layering in some rosemary, thyme, and caraway, amplifying the whiskey’s growing barrel char notes. The finish remains significantly sweet, a credible foil against the enduring essence of the barrel, herbaceous notes taking a back seat (though still present). For fans of more lighthanded ryes without the overwhelming green and grassy qualities endemic to the style, this is worth checking out. 92.5 proof. B+ / $37 [BUY IT NOW FROM RESERVEBAR]
Nelson’s Green Brier Tennessee Whiskey Cask Strength – A one-off release of Green Brier Tennessee Whiskey (no age statement), only at full barrel proof. The nose is bold and spicy and quite agreeable, peppery up front while making room for clearer notes of almonds, lightly doughy with a pie crust quality. Water brings out some apple aromatics. On the palate, butterscotch hits first, followed by a creamier brown butter element, quite sweet at times. Boldly nutty with more of those almond notes, it soon makes way for orange peel and chocolate to enter the mix. The finish is clean but moderately spicy, well-rounded and soothing, a bit of a surprise given an abv of more than 60%. The denouement is actually quite gentle light — nothing that will blow your mind, but at 50 bucks a bottle, it’s one of the best deals around for high-grade, cask strength, utility-player bourbon. 121.4 proof. A- / $50