Rough Rider - The Happy Warrior (Cask Strength)


Nose: My first whiff of this one seemed to have a lot of mint scents. (Don’t ask me to figure out WHICH mint!) It surprised me because I don’t think I’ve ever smelled another whiskey with a similar scent. It was almost medicinal. It also surprised me because it was pretty light. I was expecting more “punch” because it is barrel strength. Palate: My first sip brought out some spiciness and, surprisingly, some mintyness. Now, I don’t know if that is because the nose somehow biased me, but I could swear I tasted it a little bit. I expected more heat because it is a barrel strength, but it is “only” 114 proof, which is on the lower end of barrel strength, in my estimation. On the second sip, I noticed that the spiciness sort of builds into the finish. It starts out "just there" and then, bam, gets stronger. It has a warming finish, but isn’t harsh or burning. The finish seems a bit short to me, again, maybe I was expecting it to be longer because it is barrel strength. I had a good burp after the second sip and tasted that mintyness again. Comments: First off, this bourbon is a tribute to Teddy Roosevelt…..so BULLY, BULLY!! This is an odd bird. I find it to be very different from just about anything else I’ve ever tasted. I don’t hate it, but I’m not sure how much I like it. I like it because it is DIFFERENT, but I think that might be all it is good for…..when you want something really different or you need a change from the everyday stuff. Not that that is a bad thing. Variety is nice. I will say that after it sat in the glass for a while, it seemed to get spicier. I’m curious how much (if any) rye is in the mash bill. AND…now that I’m done tasting, my research indicates, that according to distiller.com, the mash bill is 60% corn, 35% rye, 5% malted barley. So….high rye…I got it right! Booya! OK…buy or don’t buy? Hmmmm….well, interestingly, this is a New York bourbon (Long Island Spirits). Those who know me know that I DO NOT LIKE NY BOURBON. The only NY bourbon I really like is Hillrock Solera. The Roughrider is sourced and, although I didn’t find any info on the Internet to confirm it, I’d bet money that this was sourced from Indiana. It has that “Indiana rye” taste. That said, I’m glad the Flying Aces has this on the menu…if for no other reason than to show some variety. But, should you buy it? Well, as it is something in the $60 range, I’d be hard pressed to say it is worth the money. Should you ask for a taste when you’re at the Flying Aces? Absolutely. (and, as always, a taste will happily be given!) If this was in the low $30’s, I might say otherwise, but even at a dollar days sale, I doubt it would be that low. Oh…..and this is supposedly aged a minimum of 4 years and “mingled in a small batch with older bourbon”. The second maturation (3-6 months) is in French oak casks (ex-merlot and chardonnay casks that have been washed with aged brandy).