Earlier this month Pursuit Spirits released two expressions—a bourbon and a rye—in its brand-new Oak Collection, a blend of whiskeys finished in toasted oak barrels. The Pursuit United Oak Collection Bourbon, which we reviewed in full, is a blended straight bourbon whiskey featuring juice from three distilleries that has been finished in toasted American and French Oak.
The Pursuit United Oak Collection Rye is a blended straight rye whiskey featuring a mash bill from Bardstown Bourbon Co. in Kentucky and two mash bills from Sagamore Spirit in Maryland that has been finished with Sherry French Revere Oak.
Today, let’s review the Pursuit United Oak Collection Rye, Batch 11CC (November 2022), which is now available at retail locations in Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas.
At a Glance
- Company: Pursuit Spirits
- Location: Bardstown, KY
- Style: Blended Straight Rye Whiskey
- Distilleries: Bardstown Bourbon Co. (Kentucky) and Sagamore Spirit (Maryland)
- Proof: 108
- MSRP: $74.99
- Website | Twitter | Instagram
Rye Review: What We Say
|Nose||Fruit Punch, Apple, Apricot, Pineapple, Slightly Medicinal|
|Palate||Briny, Maple Syrup, Fruit Punch, Charred Oak, Pepper Spice|
|Finish||Tea, Black Pepper, Warm, Medium Finish|
|What You Can Expect to Pay||$75|
|Buy It: Now, Soon, Later, Never||Later|
Right off the bat, the nose on this rye is very fruit punchy, with wafts of apple, apricot, and pineapple. But there’s also a slightly medicinal quality, somewhere between dried tea leaves and the pages of a 100-year-old book. On the palate, this rye is all over the place. It’s briny, yet sweet like maple syrup. There’s lots of black pepper, but also the fruit punch from the nose is conspicuous on the palate. The medium finish is warming with more pepper spice, and that slightly medicinal quality from the nose returns on the finish.
This Rye’s flavors feel at war with each other in a back-and-forth battle, which isn’t necessary a bad thing. It just feels like there’s a lot going. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good. Just don’t know if I’d run out to get this bottle at the $75 price point.
What Pursuit Says
“I guess you’re not a real whiskey company until you have a toasted release,” says Pursuit co-founder Kenny Coleman. “In all seriousness, the Oak Collection creates a better whiskey than traditional re-barreling because it allows us to develop a custom blend to match a particular wood finish.”
“Finding the right blend and wood finish proved to be a challenge because there are many variables at play,” says Pursuit co-founder and blender Ryan Cecil. “My goal was to complement the whiskeys being used. I did not want to hide them behind the flavors of the wood.”
I try not to mix $75 bottles, so dropping a couple of ice cubes in this rye is the way to go. Of course, the ice mellows the pepper—and the fruitiness—but it balances everything out a bit more in my opinion. However, if you prefer rye in your Old Fashioneds (as opposed to bourbon), this bottle plays.