Whiskey Review: Doc Swinson’s Bottled In Bond Straight Rye

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs. 

Doc Swinson’s released some new whiskeys for the summer, so now is a perfect time to learn about this under the radar producer and to explore the range of offerings.

The company, founded in 2017, is an independent bottler and the house brand of Distillers Way LLC. As an independent bottler, they source barrels of whiskey to bottle under their own label, often blending them to create a signature style, finishing them in a wide variety of wood types, and cutting to proof, though, here, the whiskey tends to be released close to cask proof.

Doc Swinson’s calls Ferndale, WA home. This tiny town is located near Vancouver, BC about 100 miles north of Seattle along the bay. Here, a team of four runs the entire operation: Jesse Parker, the Head Spirits Master; Steve Main, the Sales Director; Chris Cearns, the Chief Financial Officer; and Keith Seidel, the Director of Operations.

Parker is young with no formal training, but he cut his teeth at a small, family-owned distillery where he began racking up primo awards for his creations. He’s gone on to win several dozen more for his blends for Doc Swinson’s, including winning best in class for finished bourbon at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

As an independent bottler, the brand sources all of their whiskies—nothing is distilled in house. The current line up all hails from Midwest Grain Products Distillery in Lawrenceburg, IN, aka MGP. Sourcing from this large distillery in Indiana can be a prickly subject for some, but the team at Doc Swinson’s makes no attempts to hide and certainly excels with their selections (see the aforementioned awards).

The lineup reminds me of some releases from Buzzard’s Roost I tasted last year, another producer that releases finished whiskies from rye-heavy MGP mash bills in a similar price range, though with a radically different char for the finishing barrels. Doc Swinson’s lineup tends not show the lushness, pillowy sweetness, and aromatic intensity I often associate with MGP bourbons. Instead they manage an unusual twist of reserved yet complex aromatics. Perhaps it’s just that salty Vancouver bay air.

Today, I’m reviewing the Doc Swinson’s Bottled In Bond Straight Rye, or bottled-in-bond, means that the whiskey was distilled in one season at one distillery and aged for a minimum for four years in a federal government bonded warehouse before being cut to 50% ABV for bottling. This is 95% rye and 5% corn distilled in the fall of 2016.

This is “a seven-year blend of straight Indiana Rye Whiskies” selected because “the barrels tasted amazing,” per the company’s press release. Although Doc Swinson’s is distributed in 26 states and Canada, small production runs means that this is unlikely to be available in every market.

Doc Swinson’s Bottled In Bond Straight Rye review

We review Doc Swinson’s Bottled In Bond Straight Rye, a seven-year blend of straight Indiana rye whiskeys. (image via Doc Swinson’s)

Tasting Notes: Doc Swinson’s Bottled In Bond Straight Rye

Vital Stats: Aged for seven years in new American oak, 50% ABV, mash bill: 95% rye and 5% corn, SRP $75/ 750ml bottle.

Appearance: This bonded rye is a moderate amber in color.

Nose: Rustic country bread was the first image that came to mind when I nosed this rye. It was intriguing with plenty of cherry cola and toast notes. I picked up aromas of puffed grain cereal and yogurt covered raisins.

Palate: This comes out of its shell on the palate, showing spicy and sweet notes. There are notes of warm honey, fresh yeast, clove, and dried orange. It’s fiery with a long finish and a dash of bitterness that builds to a crescendo. I taste candied chestnuts, orange zest, Luxardo cherries, gingerbread cookies, and whipped cream. Sipping neat, there’s a hint of an interesting herbal note like a melted citronella candle.

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