Roknar Minnesota Rye Whiskey (47.0%): I have been introduced to Far North Spirits and to their line-up just a few weeks ago by Robin Robinson and Cheri Reese. The distillery is founded by Cheri Reese and Micheal Swanson in Skane Township, Minnesota. It is a farm to bottle distillery sourcing all the grains from the fields around the distillery except the malted barley which they buy from an outside vendor. Even the barrels are purchased from a cooperage within the borders of Minnesota. Cheri was amazingly kind enough to send me the samples from their entire portfolio and I will start today with the bottle I am most curious of: Roknar Minnesota Rye whiskey. It is distilled from a mash-bill of 80% rye, 10% corn and 10% malted barley, aged in 15 gallon casks for a year and finished in sherry and Cognac casks later. By the way you have to take a second to look at their entire line-up when you have chance... The photo you see below won't do the justice. Visit their website and spend some time. These bottles look absolutely gorgeous...
Color: Medium amber with an orange hue.
Nose: A little mute in the beginning. A minute of airing helps: Orange blossom honey, fennel seeds, beeswax. Rubber bands, green haystacks and toasted wood. Nutmeg, planed lumber and freshly varnished hardwood furniture. Milk chocolate pudding when it's still warm and heavy cream. Reminds me the winter weekends I used to spend in upstate New York: Snow, fire place, morning hikes in the woods and that bone freezing but beautiful breeze.
Palate: Much more interesting than the nose... Mostly thin in texture but sweet and spicy with vanilla, cloves and molasses. Allspice, burnt rice pudding and cinnamon dusting... Powdered ginger, anise and green oak. Very similar taste profile with the other small cask matured North American whiskies but it is somehow calmer, more balanced and definitely less edgy. Dry carrot cake, watered down Greek baklava syrup and chocolate milk. Liking it...
Finish: Short with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
Overall: I think that it is a very well crafted whiskey. Like I said above it is very young and spirity but it is definitely showing a great potential for aging longer and aging also in bigger size casks. It also grows in you... Since the first time I tasted it a couple days ago I had it a few more times and actually sipping it now while I am editing my notes and it tastes better and better every time. Great fall/winter dram... Thanks a lot to Cheri Reese for the official sample. No need to add any water for my two cents by the way. It is bottled at a perfect abv and you don't want to thin out the texture more than now it is anyway.