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Friday, March 1, 2019

Middle West Spirits Straight Rye (Pumpernickel) Whiskey Review

Welcome to the review for Middle West Spirits Straight Rye Whiskey. For those that aren't familiar with Middle West Spirits, they are a distillery in Columbus, OH and used to produce under the OYO brand.

Our first local (and kosher!) whiskey! Also, America’s first all rye pumpernickel whiskey. Lots of firsts with this review... Let's find out if that's a good thing.
Let's start with the specs:

Manufacturer: Middle West Spirits, LLC

Age: At least 3 years

Location Produced: Columbus, OH

Mash Bill: Unknown

Taste (from manufacturer): Notes of vanilla-caramel, cinnamon, and smoked oak

Finish (from manufacturer): Pumpernickel spice finish

Alcohol: 48%

Who is this for?: People who want to try a new whiskey... People looking for a local brand to Columbus and Ohio... Pumpernickel aficionados.

Cost (Ohio): $42.14

Let's start the review. 

Taste - Score 22 out of 35

On the nose, it comes across very sweet. Almost like it was made with hints of pixy stix. We did pick up hints of the smoked char from the new white American oak cask.

We tried drinking straight and on the rocks and we didn't pick up any distinct flavors that Middle West has in their flavor profile. In our opinion, this was pretty plain and was a bit of a disappointment.

Smoothness/Finish - Score 12.5 out of 25

When we drank straight, the finish was very long and harsh and lingered longer than we both wanted. In the words of Ralph Wiggum... "It tastes like burning."

When poured over the rocks with a splash of water, the finish was still long, but more enjoyable. The taste stayed around without being overbearing.

Intangibles: Color/Appearance - Score 13.5 out of 15.

Johny could not stop talking about how much he loves the bottle. At one point, I thought he was going to take it behind the middle school and get it pregnant. The bottle itself has numerous embossing on it. Middle West Spirits is embossed around the shoulder of the bottle with the MWS embossed on the bottom. The batch number is included on the label. 

Middle West Rye has a beautiful dark color that looks great in the glass. 

Availability - Score 3 out of 5

We went to five liquor stores in the Columbus area and only found it at two (Wieland's and Giant Eagle Grandview Yard). However, we have seen this shelved in the past and it is available at the larger liquor locations. 

Overall Value - Score 13 out of 20

The $42.14 question.... is this worth it. At that price, you're competing with the higher end bourbons and whiskeys. For context Knob Creek Single Barrel is $43.99 and Baker's is $46.99. I don't think you're getting the same value at this price point. However, I like the idea of buying and supporting local and start up distillery's. It's also worth noting that previous batches of this rye under the OYO label clocked in at 45% so it's nice to see the jump to 48%. 

Final Score: 64 out of 100

Note: This review was done by Mark and Johny K. The bottle was given to Mark as an early Christmas gift.

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