The Blaum Bros. Distilling Co. opened its doors in 2013 in Galena, IL and is run by brothers Matt and Mike Blaum. Working from an ethos of taking their spirits seriously Blaum Bros have made a proud name for themselves by sourcing great tasting whiskies, producing their own spirits, and really not taking themselves too seriously. As I researched the distillery and their brands for this review I found that everything from the name of their products to their descriptions on their website depicts the brothers, and their operation, as one that likes a good drink and a good laugh.
Today I’m reviewing a single barrel Blaum Bros Knotter Rye whiskey that was picked by the folks at Cork ‘N Bottle, in Crescent Springs, KY. This 5 year old rye whiskey was not made by Blaum Bros but instead sourced from MGP Indiana and bottled by Blaum Bros, a practice that has become commonplace for craft brands. What separates Blaum Bros from many others is that they provide an excellent example of where a craft brand has sourced aged whiskey stocks and make this as clear as possible to their fans. From the name of the whiskey (Knotter – which sounds like ‘Not Our’), to the clear statement of ‘The Finest Straight Rye Whiskey We Never Distilled’ in ornate lettering on the front label, the point that this is sourced is made clear whilst not taking away from the overall look of the bottle or label. This rye whiskey is bottled at barrel proof and gives fans the increasingly rare experience of owning a barrel proof, single barrel MGP rye whiskey picked by a liquor store.
Name: Knotter Rye Single Barrel (Barrel #07)
Age: 5 years, 1 month, 24 days old (from doing the math on the pick info label)
Proof: 124.9 proof (62.45% ABV)
Type: Cask Strength Straight Rye Whiskey
Mashbill: Presumably the usual MGP rye mashbill of 95% rye, 5% malted barley.
Producer: MGP sourced, aged to maturity by Blaum Bros, IL
Nose: The nose opens with class MGP notes of thick caramel, earthy rye, fresh dill, warm baking spices and dry charred oak.
Palate: The palate is thick and oily with buttery dill notes, followed by a wave of sweet rye spice, and fading into deep caramel, earthy rye, dried red fruit, baking spice, floral vanilla, and tannic oak.
Finish: The finish is long and dry with charred oak and rye spice leaving a tannic aftertaste of dried red fruit and burnt dill.
Another great rye whiskey to remind everyone that MGP produce some of the best on the market. Despite being what some would consider young for a rye whiskey this has flavour beyond its years and is the kind of rye whiskey you sip slowly and enjoy thoroughly. At 124.9 proof it doesn’t hold back on flavour and is surprisingly smooth, drinking more like a 100 proof whiskey than 120+ proof . This is such a classic MGP rye it would make you cry; there’s dill a plenty, earthy rye grain in every drop, and enough baking spices and smoky oak to bring your palate alive with every sip. Blaum Bros have found what many other craft producers who initially source from MGP have discovered: they make damn good rye whiskey!
These barrels were some of the last to come in that were picked by Ed Bley before he departed from Cork ‘n Bottle and continue to do his name and his skills for picking great barrels proud. Since Ed’s departure Mr. Eric Bollman has taken the reins and is doing an excellent job picking barrels for Cork ‘n Bottle, but that’s for another review.
Try or Buy?
Don’t let the age put you off this barrel proof single barrel rye from Blaum- it’s as good as MGP ryes get, in my opinion. My advice would be pick one up if you see it, because if you are an MGP rye fan you won’t be disappointed! Also at less than $60 a bottle this will always be an easy buy. Another thing to keep in mind is, as I previously said, Blaum Bros make no secret that this whiskey is sourced. Therefore, I presume that once their own rye stocks mature (or demand outstrips supply) these sourced barrels will eventually dry up so buy buy buy!