Sugarlands Distilling Co, located in the mountain town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is primarily known for its colorful range of flavored and unflavored moonshines. But Sugarlands has stealthily been at work producing a rye whiskey that is distilled, aged, and barreled on the property. That rye whiskey is Roaming Man, and pre-sales of its second limited release began at 10am this morning.
Roaming Man Rye began its life as one of Sugarlands’ moonshines: Jim Tom Hendrick’s Unaged Rye. That unaged rye was barreled for two years in American white oak barrels, and bottled at an unadulterated 123.4 proof. Its beautifully designed bottle incorporates an old map of the area surrounding Gatlinburg, and a nifty fact bulletin that covers everything from mash bill (51% rye, 45% corn, 4% malted barley) to the precise date of its barreling (3-27-2015).
The whiskey pours reddish, ruddy brown in the glass, and has a strong nose bursting with toffee, caramel, vanilla bean and peaches ’n cream. It starts soft on the tongue, with opening flavors of oak, vanilla and bright fruit. The spice begins to roll in at the center with potent notes of black pepper, and kicks into high gear at the back of the palate. As it reaches the back, the texture turns into a creamy peanut butter note that you can practically chew on. Pepper and peanut butter are prominent in its enjoyable, almost ludicrously long slow-burn of a finish.
Roaming Man is a remarkably good rye with vibrant, unique flavors that can appeal to the aficionado and neophyte alike. It also presents the rare chance to taste a rye whiskey at cask strength.
Unfortunately, its current distribution is quite limited. While it can be pre-ordered online, the whiskey can only be picked up at the distillery in Gatlinburg between July 1st and October 1st. But any trip made to pick up a bottle of Roaming Man is a trip worth taking: you might just come away with a bottle of moonshine, too.
— 123.4 Proof
— $49.99 (375ml)
CE Rating: ★★★★