Coalition Rye Sauternes Barriques Finish Review

Distilled at Kentucky Artisan Distillery and finished for at least 9 months in Sauternes barrels, the Coalition Rye Sauternes Barriques Finish is a combination of American craft whiskey and French wine. Old world meets new, Kentucky meets France… you get the idea.

If you’re not familiar with KAD, don’t worry about it. They’re not one of the big craft names and are, for the most part, a smaller contract distiller and bottler. The biggest brand they work with is Jefferson’s, but they also work with a host of others distilling or bottling their whiskey. Coalition is one of those.

Coalition was founded by Leonid Yangarber who was previously the CEO of Russian Standard Vodka and currently the EVP of the ultra-premium Monfleurie Cognac. So he definitely has experience in spirits, but moving from Vodka to Whiskey is quite the shift. But as they say, the proof is in the puddin’, so let’s get to drinkin’ to see how his vision came together.


Coalition Rye Sauternes Barriques Finish – Details and Tasting Notes


Whiskey Details

Region: Kentucky, USA

Distiller: Kentucky Artisan Distillery
Mash Bill: 90% Rye, 10% Malted Rye
Cask: New Charred Oak, ex-Sauternes (9+ months)
Age: 5+ years
ABV: 47.1%

Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color

Price: $100*

“Sophisticated and balanced. Our 100% Rye Kentucky Straight Whiskey is finished in Sauternes barrels. It has a deep amber color and a rich, fragrant nose with perfectly balanced honeyed vanilla notes, caramel, and apricot hints. Exquisite and remarkably elegant, it is smooth on the palate, with luscious flavors of dried fruit, toffee, and a delicate almond finish.” – Coalition Whiskey

Tasting Notes

Ruddy copper

Juicy fruity sweetness, baking spice, wood, copper, almonds, roasted nuts and oil. This is a pleasant aroma with a solid fun and fruity delivery I’m actually enjoying.

Juicy-fruity sweetness, raw-craft-woodiness, baking spice, cocoa, banana chips and some cocoa and copper. Don’t like the Coalition Rye Sauternes Barriques quite as much here. That raw-crafty quality kicks up a lot more and starts to take over.

Med -> Woody, grainy, winey sweet drifts out evenly.

Not fully balanced, medium, body with a dry and soft feel.

Coalition Rye Sauternes Barriques Finish – Overall Thoughts and Score

The crafty notes pop out a lot more and I’m getting so much more of that raw woody note here than I did with the Coalition Margaux. I’m also getting a ton more sweetness, like two behemoths battling it out with neither truly coming out on top – just two strong profiles battling for dominance.

There’s an odd note that kind of reminds me of pomegranate… if it was chalky, like a pomegranate powder. But on the whole, I just… don’t… quite… care for it. The Coalition Rye Sauternes Barriques Finish doesn’t feel cohesive and there’s that raw-woody crafty note that keeps coming up over and over. It’s one of my least favorite notes in whiskeydom.

SCORE: 2/5

*Disclosure: The 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 Sauternes Barriques Finish Review


Sweet and woody, it’s unique in its delivery, but ultimately it just didn’t come together for me. It felt like notes were battling instead of harmonizing.











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