Last Friday night, whilst Mrs. G-LO and my Eldest Son (Marco aka Coco Lopez) were occupied with a high school theater performance (he was performing, she was spectating) of a play based upon the works of Edgar Allen Poe, I heard a rapping at my backyard door. When I went to see who it was, lo and behold, it was Limpd’s Youngest Urchin (James aka Jimmy aka Jimmy the Gent aka The Great Hambino aka The Babe aka Jimbo aka YoJimBo) who was in search of MY Youngest Urchin (Charles aka Charlie aka Chuck aka Chuckles aka Chaluzzo aka Chaz aka Chick aka Chuckalupagus aka ChuckChuckGo). Since it wasn’t a raven rapping at my backyard door, I let out a sigh of relief and permitted him to enter Casa G-LO, and The Boys then proceeded to do what boys are wont to do, i.e. they played video games.

After about 20 minutes of listening to them bicker over proper Fort Night strategy, I checked in with Limpd via text to see if he was available to do some research. As luck would have it, he was actually available, so as soon as he arrived, we immediately got down to business and sampled a couple of spirits. After a few minutes of our usual drill, i.e. nosing, tasting, and writing, but no talking about what we’re reviewing until AFTER we’ve written our notes so that we don’t fall prey to the power of suggestion, The Boys finally noticed what we were up to and walked over to harass us for a spell. They peppered us with questions, such as…

“So, whatcha doin?”
“Is that whiskey?”
“What’s the mash bill on that hooch?”
“Is it peated?”
“What kind of barrel did they use to age it in?”
“Did they actually make the distillate, or is this one of those flim-flam “distilleries” that you guys always whine about that say they made the whisky when they really didn’t?

And then they hit us with this one…

“Can we try some?”

Because we’re caring fathers who do not ignore our children (mostly because they’re relentless and won’t leave you alone until you answer them. Meanwhile, when the tables are turned, they pretty much ignore us), we immediately stopped what we were doing and responded to their line of questioning with answers, such as…

“None of your business.”
“Yes, it is.”
“Rye, Barley, and Wheat. It says so on the label. Don’t they teach you kids how to read in school?”
“No, it’s not peated.”
“French oak barrels.”
“Yes. They distilled their own whisky. And, we never whine!”

And to their last question, we of course replied with an…

“Absolutely not!”

Whilst our Youngest Urchins may seem sweet and mild mannered on the outside, as you can tell from their line of questioning (it almost felt like this was some sort of Spanish Inquisition!), they are nosy, sneaky, and evil not-so-little fellas that need to be watched carefully lest they be left to their own devices to inflict mischief and mayhem upon the good citizens of Planet Earth. In other words, the apples haven’t fallen far from the tree. Bless their little hearts.

Now that you know a bit about our offspring and what we’re dealing with on a daily, let’s get down to business and discuss the whiskey that you see in the photo at the top of this blog post. Before we get to our review, here’s what Ransom Wine Co. & Distillery has to say about their Rye, Barley, Wheat Whiskey…

Innovation is a cornerstone of the American ethos, and innovators have always shied away from the impulse to equate tradition with convention. In this spirit, our Rye, Barley, Wheat Whiskey is carefully crafted using the finest traditions in distilling—It has been distilled in hand hammered, direct fire, alembic copper pot stills and only the very best portion of the cuts, the “heart of the hearts” has been kept at the still—We have, however, chosen to flaunt conventions of category with our decisions about the mash bill and barrel program. Years of blending have convinced us that diverse mash bills produce whiskeys that are more evocative and interesting, so we worked diligently to craft a rich, complex palate of grain flavors by blending six grain components. To protect and enhance these delicate cereal flavors, we elected to forego the conventional heavily charred new oak in favor of used 60 gallon toasted French oak barrels, most of which formerly held Pinot Noir. These barrels contribute weight and depth to the spirit without erasing or obscuring the character of the grain, which we feel should define a premium whiskey. The result is a whiskey which we feel offers unprecedented depth, complexity, and body.

And here are our impressions…

  • Appearance: Guess who’s back, back again. Amber’s back, tell a friend.
  • ABV: 46.7%
  • Aroma
    • Limpd: Not overly vapory. Grainy, malty, a bit like adult French toast (doughy, vanilla, powdered sugar, Lyle’s Golden Syrup). I get the rye sharpness and then a lot of the wheat sweetness.
    • G-LO: My my my! There sure is a lot going on here. Let’s sort this out. Spicy rye starts things off in a big way. After that, I get ginger, clove, cinnamon, spearmint, dark brown sugar, and some Connecticut shade cigar wrapper (or maybe it was a Habano cigar wrapper??? Limpd, help me out here!).
  • Taste
    • Limpd: Medium mouthfeel with a big sugar upfront, a spicy (cinnamon) mid-palate and an earthy, chocolatey finish. The finish is short and a bit drying (duh! it’s aged in wine barrels).
    • G-LO: Just a wee bit of oiliness in the mouthfeel. As I found in the nose, spicy, herbally rye starts things off. A bit of sweetness (gingersnaps for sure!) and nuttiness comes through in the middle along with an almost Vermouthy herbality too. More yummy wine-y-ness (as opposed to my usual whine-y-ness) comes through in the finish along with some dark sugars and light spice. Very mellow aftertaste with lingering, Vermouthy herbalness.

The Verdict

Limpd: For an ABV of 46.7%, the alcohol is almost an afterthought. The flavors are there if a bit out of balance (they come one after the other rather than blended together until the finish). I was really intrigued by the blended mash bill and I would love to try this again if it were aged in an ex-Bourbon or ex-Sherry cask.

G-LO: I honestly had no idea what to expect from this whiskey given its mash bill and wine barrel aging. It could have been really weird or just plain awful, but thankfully, neither one of those scenarios played out and I am happy to report that I really enjoyed this whiskey. I really enjoyed the medley of flavors and how they all come together in the finish. Ransom Rye, Barley, Wheat, Whiskey is a keeper, and it makes a pretty nice Old Fashioned too…

Instagram Photo

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Many thanks to the fine folks at Ransom Wine Co. & Distillery for sending us this very generous sample!