O.H. Ingram River Aged Rye Whiskey
Today’s Craft Corner review comes to us from the river. That’s right, this whiskey is actually aged on waters of the mighty Mississippi River. When I heard about this product, I wanted to not only try the whiskey–but hear more about the story behind river aging–my co-host Jay and I invited Hank Ingram on for an episode of Weekly Whiskey. Check it out below to hear Hank’s perspective and to catch our live tasting.
In an industry where every back label has a story to tell, it can be really refreshing to see a new perspective; enter, O.H. Ingram River Aged Whiskey.
Leveraging the perpetually undulating water of the Mississippi River as well as its climate, Ingram is aging their whiskey in a way that is not only unique but also quite interesting in terms of analytics. In looking at their process you can see a large amount of data right on their website:
Our whiskey experiences large diurnal shifts (the difference in temperature between daily highs and lows). The heat from the daytime sun the causes the pores in the wood to expand and absorb more whiskey. At night, the river pulls the heat from the barge causing the pores to squeeze the whiskey back into the barrel along with the flavors it has extracted.
The premise is interesting for sure. In talking with Hank on Weekly Whiskey we hit on a bunch of the important specs of the barge they’re aging on, the cooperage, and the distillate itself.
Speaking of the distillate, it’s about time to pour some of this River Aged Rye and see what it’s all about. Here we go!
Nose – Soft and sweet with a grassy honey vibe. Reminiscent of a summer hay field (in a good way). There’s a toasty side to this which I think could really develop as this ages a bit.
Taste – Delicate. There’s a touch of youth still showing through, a kick of that rye grain, but it’s followed right up with a candy sweetness. Light fruit and then a touch of rye spice on the back palate.
Finish – Not super long, but carries some sweetness and a touch of that barrel character shows up and mixes with a caramel candy.
Craft Corner Evaluation: Almost Ready
As always, when reviewing for the Craft Corner I am tasting the whiskey and providing my notes about it–and grading the whiskey against the market. What does this mean? Ultimately I am scoring craft whiskey in a way of saying it’s “Ready” to compete for shelf space with the macro distillers, or it’s “Not Ready” which is usually an indicator of poor quality or undeveloped flavors.
Sometimes a product, such as O.H. Ingram’s River Aged Rye, is ready in terms of pricing and general availability but it could use just a bit more time in the barrel to round out the profile or provide a bit more depth. This is by no means a negative score, it just means the whiskey is not flawed in-and-of itself; however, it will be “Ready” with a bit more time on the floating barge.
All in all this was actually a fun interview and review of something I’d never heard of. In a world where brands are built on the back of Indiana rye that is simply bought, moved, and bottled it’s nice to see a new spin on maturation and I think this uniquely-aged rye will be pretty damn good when it’s a bit older.
TheBourbonFinder thanks O.H. Ingram Whiskey for graciously providing us a sample of their product. Being able to try new things in the whiskey space, without strings attached, is an opportunity we greatly appreciate. Per our review ethos, we provide objective reviews and commentary on media samples of spirits and products; remember, friends, these are the good old days of whiskey!
Our grading system: As mentioned in our About Us page, we’re excited to share bourbon with our friends, family, and readers. There are enough critics, cynics, and curmudgeons in the whiskey world as it is, so our goal is to foster the bourbon community in a positive way by bringing fun and entertaining content whenever possible–as such–we decided that applying precise scores to whiskey was simply too serious for us (and didn’t accurately showcase variability in taste from day to day). We use a simple grade school system to apply a grade to the whiskeys we review because we feel it is indicative of the whiskey’s grade for us on that particular day. A grade of a “B” today may very well be a “B+” or even a “B-” on another day, so rather than focusing on a precise score today that may not stand the test of time, we are just sharing our overall grade of that pour for that one tasting. Pour a bit and enjoy, friends, these are the good old days of whiskey!