Hybrid or Uncommon? Dry Fly Distilling Straight Triticale Whiskey Review (Select)
More booze from a friend
As I mentioned in my Bowmore 16 review, I had dinner at Jeff’s a while back and we spent a while sampling his expansive whiskey collection. One of the more unusual bottles we tasted was Dry Fly Distilling’s Straight Triticale Whiskey. Jeff was nice enough to let me take the bottle for a review. I’ve held it captive ever since. So I guess it’s time to write a review and get it back to him. Maybe.
It’s worth noting that this is a “select” bottling for Holmes Liquor in Dalton, Georgia. This bottling was finished in a Pedro Ximénez sherry cask and comes in at 117.5 proof. The sa
Triticale is a late 19th century Scottish/German hybrid of rye and wheat. Typically, the “flavoring grain” in bourbon is either rye or wheat. These grains are found in varying percentages of the mash bill. Rye flavor contributions are generally spicy (cinnamon, clove, baking spices) while wheat is a much milder, softer grain that yields a sweeter impression. Wild Turkey is perhaps most famous for its high-rye bourbons while Maker’s Mark is the most recognizable “wheater.” Dry Fly Distillery bills this whiskey as a “Rye Wheat Hybrid” right on the label. That should set the expectation for the experience, right?
Copper gold color with brilliant clarity. A turn coats the glass leaving long, ropey legs.
Burnt sugar and baking spices dominate at the initial sniff. Those aggressive aromas soften into cinnamon and fresh-cut grass. The lasting aroma reminds me of an orange pomander ball –you know, when you stick cloves in an orange for Christmas decorations.
My immediate impression is of preserved lemons. There’s a fantastic brightness here that gets close to tart but not puckering. Cinnamon and clove follow in the middle. The hints of brown sugar in the finish play well with some green oak and a hint of agave. Subsequent sips yield candy apple and pistachio.
A zesty burn quickly yields to a light mouthfeel where the liquor never really seems to sit on the tongue but rather floats on top of it. Still it somehow still manages to stick around for a lasting finish. Most young whiskeys at this proof would be brash enough to seem almost astringent but not this one.
This is an interesting whiskey that tells mostly the same story in the nose that it does in the flavor. The flavors here are unusual enough that I really had to spend some time with this dram and dig into my memory to find the right descriptors. Even though triticale is billed as a wheat/rye hybrid, in this case it yields a whiskey that isn’t really half and half of either. Instead, it’s an uncommon whiskey on its own, deserving of its own classification.
You may have a difficult time finding this same bottling. I’d suggest looking for a cask strength, sherry finish bottling in your nearest upscale bottle shop. Otherwise, even though I haven’t tasted it, I think the standard bottling of this is worth a try. Master of Malt will even sell you a dram!