Royal Oaked Rye

Maker: Motor City Gas, Royal Oak, Michigan, USAwpid-2015-06-26-16.21.11.jpg.jpeg

Style: Kentucky “barely legal” style rye

Age: >1 y/o

Proof: 86 (43% ABV)

Purchased for $36/750 ml. $25 for 375 ml.

Appearance: Bright gold. Slightly hazy.

Nose: Fruity. Tangerine, alcohol, potpourri.

Palate: Full bodied and soft. Caramel, amaretto, cherry, ripe peach, ancho chili.

Finish: A pinch of chipotle, followed by vanilla and a dark chocolate. Lingers for a long time.

Parting words: Motor City Gas is a brand new micro-distillery very close to Sipology Blog HQ in Royal Oak, Michigan. When I visited in early June with friend-of-the-blog Amy, we had a chance to chat with Rich, the owner and operator of MCG. He started his journey as a home brewer. He then became interested in whiskey and (according to articles in the local press) worked at a several distilleries to learn the craft, including Koval, Grand Traverse and the East Lansing distillery. His intent is to exclusively produce whiskeys, possibly branching out to other brown spirits in the future. No gin or vodka.

They had two whiskeys available at the time, this and a bourbon. The bourbon was ok, with a peanutty aroma that reminded me of George Dickel No. 12 or Elijah Craig. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the rye was what really impressed me. They have since released a malt whiskey which I have not yet had.

Royal Oaked rye is a rare thing in a microdistilled product; it’s something I could see becoming a go-to. Its combination of fruit and spice reminds me of DSP KY 354 Rittenhouse or Baby Saz in their primes. It beat  the current DSP 1 bottle of Ritt I have open, hands down. It mixes well, too, but it’s almost too good for that. Maybe my expectations were too low going in, but I really love this whiskey. $36 is a fair price, considering micro-inflation and the relative scarcity of good rye these days. I almost can’t believe I’m saying this but Royal Oaked Rye is highly recommended.

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2 thoughts on “Royal Oaked Rye

  1. Always enjoy your thoughts on new spirits Josh although I think this time it may be one I would have to try for myself before I decide! Not that I am likely to find a bottle in my area anytime soon. Maybe it will show up on a future gazebo table. A very young craft whiskey (presumably from small barrels?) that can beat DSP1 Ritt would indeed be impressive. But it may be that I like the new Ritt a little better than you do! Thanks for the report.

  2. I don’t blame you at all. I would do it the exact same in your shoes. If we’re at KBF this fall, I’ll bring some down. It is aged in small barrels but I didn’t remember how small and I forgot to take notes when we chatted. I think it was a combo of 8 & 15 gallon. It doesn’t show though.

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