Tuesday, February 21, 2012

WTF is OMG Rye?

One of Utah based High West Distillery's latest offerings is OMG Rye, or Old Monongahela Rye. Unlike many of High West's offerings of sourced whiskeys, the OMG is an unaged spirit that they distilled themselves in Utah.

OMG Rye is High West's attempt to recreate the Western Pennsylvania style of whiskey. In the style of those Old Monongahela ryes, it is made from a mash of 80% unmalted rye and 20% malted rye. It is a vatting of whiskeys made with three different yeasts.

Now I very rarely write up unaged whiskeys because, well, I don't like them. However, given that I was recently able to sample an actual Old Monongahela Rye, I was curious as to how the High West version would compare and whether there would be discernible similarities.

High West Silver OMG Pure Rye, 49.3% abv ($37)

Nosing it...well, it's new make. There is that undeniable smell of the still before the barrel has had a chance to do its magic; behind the initial surge are some grainy notes. On the palate it's quite sweet, again very typical for new make but not what I would have expected in a 100% rye. Once the initial sweetness fades, there is some graininess on the palate. The finish is fairly short but it's the only place where I really pick up much in the way of rye in the form of a faint spiciness left on the tongue. It's in that last bit of the finish that I get something in common with the Large Old Monongahela that I reviewed last week, a sort of dry spiciness.

Well, I never recommend new make to anyone, but High West has put some of this in barrels to age. I'll be interested to see how it develops.

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