By Richard Thomas
Rogue Ales became Rogue Ales & Spirits when they got into the brewstilling sector, turning their famed Dead Guy Ale into a single malt whiskey. They have since made a handful of Rogue American Malts, and seeing as how we at The Whiskey Reviewer are keen followers of the brewstilling movement, we’ve been paying close attention to them.
Now Rogue has embarked on a new series, their Single Barrel Project, with the intent of releasing four single barrel malts per year. That is enough that even as I write this review, Barrel #2 should already be on store shelves and Barrel #3 will follow next month.
Barrel #1, however, is a six year old single malt with a six month finish in a Cabernet Sauvignon barrel. The production run yielded 215 bottles at 96 proof.
A pour of this wine-finished American malt has a middling amber look in the glass, one that leans strongly on the red coloring. The nose leads with earthy cocoa and cookie spices, and behind that a foundation of brown sugar.
A sip yields a current of caramel, along with notes of wet, earthy clay and barn-dried tobacco, coupled to traces of cookie spices and oak. Until now, the wine influence in this whiskey has been mostly in playing up the spicy and earthy elements, but on the finish it makes itself quite felt. The whiskey leaves behind a brief presence of oaky red wine, but that fades fast, although the warmth keeps going.
I couldn’t find any pricing data for this item; the press release didn’t specify it, and no online retailers are carrying it. Keeping in mind that only 215 bottles were made and the second in the series is already out there, I suppose it doesn’t actually matter… except in terms of knowing what kind of stuff is coming from this series!