Nose: The first impression from the first sniff was “very minty”. Later sniffs had a small amount of alcohol but it remained very minty. On still later sniffs, it kinda smelled like a minty mouthwash…..if the mouthwash had more alcohol in it. The nose isn’t unpleasant but it is different. Palate: The first sip has heat that starts as warming and then gets ramped up as it goes. The initial flavors are sweet corn, cinnamon and pepper. The mouthfeel on this is very nice….velvety and smooth, although there is some burn from the heat and a decent amount of tongue tingle. I didn’t pick up any of the mint from the nose, which is odd because it really smells very minty. I also didn’t pick up on any rye spice. On later sips, I could taste some youthful corn, but it is tempered and doesn’t come across as moonshiney. Then, after sitting a while and after becoming acclimated to the heat, it becomes a very interesting mix of cinnamon and pepper. Along with the underlying corn, there is also a faint fruitiness about it. This is one that most definitely benefits from sitting in the glass for a while. Towards the end of the glass, the heat is either diminished by time or by your palate becoming accustomed to it. Either way, it is a good thing. Comments: This clocks in at 104 proof, so it has some stamina and it explains the heat level. Granted, there are other higher proofs that come across with less heat, but I on this one you can almost excuse it because of its youth. This is the younger of three versions put out by this distillery (Brandywine Branch Distillers). This a Pennsylvania-based distillery in Elverson, PA (roughly between Lancaster and Philadelphia) that was founded in 2014. Although sourced in Kentucky, their bourbons are custom made from their mash bill. Their website (revivalistspirits.com) states that it is “higher corn content and balanced rye content”. I got this one because of the cost, but now that I’ve tasted it and it isn’t total crap, I’d be willing to try their higher proof 118 cask strength version. They also put out a 100 proof version. Like most craft distilleries, they source their juice while their own ages. I’m always reluctant to try newish craft distillery products, but I have to say that this one has potential AND, unlike a lot of craft distillers, they don’t cripple you with the price. This was on sale in the PA state store for $36 and I’d say it is worth it for the uniqueness of its flavor. The four year old Custom Cask, 100 proof version is $50 and I might now be willing to take a flyer on it. Unfortunately, this is rather difficult to come by if you aren’t in PA. MD doesn’t seem to have it yet.
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