Stellum B&B Single Barrel "Serpens X2" Rye Whiskey
The people behind Stellum Spirits, the folks at Barrell Whiskey, probably need no introduction to avid whiskey drinkers at this point. With their blends, either the numbered batches of Bourbon, or their various special cask finished bottlings, they have become an icon in the world of cask strength whiskey. They introduced the Stellum brand a couple years ago as a more easily priced line with the same ethos of uncut whiskey, blended with care by people who really know how to blend. Since then they have ventured into some pricier special releases under the Stellum label as well, but in general value is the name of the game with Stellum. They also, unlike Barrell, offer a single barrel program for both Bourbon and Rye, at the same great value as their regular lineup.
Over the last year we tried through a lot of different casks from Stellum, both bourbon and rye. All were sourced from Indiana's familiar MGP, and we really wanted to pick some unique ones since they seemed to be pretty generous with the amount of cask samples they were willing to share. It's rare to taste a real dud from MGP, but we were very focused on finding unusual and delicious barrels that would be worthy of our club. So after all that tasting we ended up with three casks, two bourbon and one rye. They are named for different constellations, which represent the differing mashbills and when they were selected by Stellum.
And then of course the Rye, called Serpens and made from MGP's 95/5 rye mashbill. And what a unique rye this is considering we thought we knew the MGP rye profile in and out. But it looks like we were wrong. The nose is sweet and fruity, with plums, rum raisin cake, sweet and sour sauce, and chocolate muffins. This is decidedly not bourbon in character, but it smells just as sweet. The palate confirms this, with chocolate chip cookie dough, pecan pie, milk duds, elegant grainy rye, honey nut cheerios, green herbs, dried apricot, and a wonderful creamy-but-briny element that brings uni at a sushi restaurant to mind. Super different rye!