I've been to Hollywood,
I've been to Redwood,
I crossed the ocean
For a heart of gold,
I've been in my mind,
It's such a fine line
That keeps me searching
For a heart of gold.
[Ed. note: I think very few (if any) of these cereal notes are the result of the 5% barley. Rye has its own signature cereal notes, and barley - unpeated - is usually just such a neutral grain (hence why it's preferred for tinkering with single malts). I'm uncertain about the malting, but I've no doubt that the barley is here just to mellow that rye spice a bit and give it a more corporeal, less ethereal palate. 100% rye mashes tend to suffer from that a bit; I say "suffer" because I like some earthy / farmish complexity in any brown spirit, Bruichladdich being most famous for letting that sort of thing shine through].
Right, well let's taste it! This comes bottled at 45% ABV, so a few drops of water should do it well. I already added them to dissect the nose.
Delicate, soapy sweetness gives way to a rolling hill of spice - I swear it started as Glenmorangie and then went all movie theater candy on me. The spice is signature for a rye, and can surprise many a whiskey drinker who hasn't given high-rye mashes a chance. It can be difficult to quantify, but think bright spices like cinnamon and paprika and you're getting in the ballpark. It's those little Red Hots cinnamon candies your Grandmother always kept in her purse, like that scene with the Oracle from Matrix Reloaded. So basically... you have become Neo, your mind awakened to the reality of spicy rye. Anyone else think that those Red Hots she offered him were symbolic for the red pill? But of course.
Finish is long and full of spice - very pleasant really. There's really no need to search far and wide for a decent rye anymore - you have it right here, and at a very fetching price (usually just over $30). Just look or ask for that green label. Highley recommended ;-)
P.S. This is the perfect whiskey expression for mixing up an Old Fashioned. I mean a real Old Fashioned, not that over-muddled spicy water that passes for it when ordered from your neighborhood Applebee's. Find a bartender that knows how to do it right, or just do it yourself. The whiskey will stand on its own just fine.