I like whiskey, I like wine, so in theory, I should like the Coalition Rye Margaux Barriques. But that’s the funny thing about combinations – they don’t always work. I like cheddar cheese and I like salmon, but I don’t want melted cheddar on my salmon.
I’m not saying this is cheddar salmon, but I am saying that this deepening trend of wine-finished American Whiskey is an odd one. Like seafood and dairy, it can be done, but it’s difficult to pull off well because of the powerful flavors in the core component: American Whiskey.
By no means am I a traditionalist when it comes to whiskey. I love innovation and when cask finishes are done well they enhance the whiskey. When they’re done poorly they either detract or can’t be detected at all. Question is, where does this one fall? Let’s get to drinkin’ and find out.
Coalition Rye Margaux Barriques – Details and Tasting Notes
Region: Kentucky, USA
Distiller: Kentucky Artisan Distillery
Mash Bill: 100% Rye
Cask: New Charred Oak, ex-Margaux (9+ months)
Age: 5+ years
Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
“Refined and lively. Our 100% Rye Kentucky Straight Whiskey is finished in Margaux barrels. It has an attractive deep garnet amber color. There is a lot of elegance in the mouth, a good backbone, and a long pleasant finish. It has a complex flavor with floral notes of violets and lilacs, red fruit nuances, and a touch of roasted coffee beans.” – Coalition Whiskey
Dark fruity sweetness, dried corn, woody oak, citrus peels, baking spice, touch candy sweetness and cocoa. It has a juiciness to it that’s equal parts winey and darkly fruity and they merge in a syrupy-sweet way. It’s unique that’s for sure.
Tart dark fruit, woody, biscuity, baking spice, dried orchard fruit, anise and cocoa powder with a touch of citrus. Coalition Rye Margaux Barriques has strong notes of that raw/woody craft essence to it, that I’m not a fan of. It gets softened by the dark winey notes enough to not dominate, but it’s so prominent I struggle with it.
Med -> Woody, darkly fruity, olde candy and spice in a disjointed fade.
BALANCE, BODY and FEEL
Ok balance, medium body and a touch dry, but ultimately soft, feel.
Coalition Rye Margaux Barriques – Overall Thoughts and Score
This is a whiskey that takes some time to open; it needs oxygen and time. My first glass of this I hated, I got nothing but raw woody and grainy notes. But after 3 glasses, and several weeks of being open, the sweetness moved up and started tempering the rawness. Though that woody rawness is still more than present.
I’m not sure if it’s because the whiskey itself is a bit raw, woody and under matured or if it just comes across this way because of the interaction with the wine barrels. I’d like to try it without the wine to see where it sits, but at the moment I can’t help but get distracted by the all-too-familiar crafty raw notes in the Coalition Rye Margaux Barriques. Gorgeous bottle and design though.
*Disclosure: The sample/bottle for this whiskey review was graciously sent to me by the company without obligation. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.
Coalition Rye Margaux Barriques Review
I neither like nor dislike the Coalition Rye Margaux Barriques. It’s a bit disjointed and there’s a battle between rustic, raw, notes and elegant, sweet, notes.