These blends came out of an experiment I did several years ago with Russell's Reserve rye and El Dorado 12 Year rum. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but don't have any of the rum on hand anymore. So I decided to see how well my other Guyanese staple, Lemon Hart 151, would mix with the rye.
7:1 Russell's Reserve Rye/Lemon Hart 151
Nose: tons of sawdust and brown sugar, rye grain, corn, and vanilla underneath, rum detectable as a molasses undercurrent (gaining prominence with time) and more assertive alcohol (settling down with time), unripe fruit (bananas?),
Taste: the rum's molasses is a strong presence throughout, slowly giving ground to rye grain and pine, sawdust, and moderate oak tannins, unripe pineapple, cumin and other spices underneath
Finish: dusty rye grain with a touch of molasses sweetness, combining with a bitter/sour tang
I think this is the slightly better version, as it lets the rye do its thing while the rum smoothes over some of the whiskey's weak points.
3:1 Russell's Reserve Rye/Lemon Hart 151
Nose: more rum tops notes (molasses and overripe fruit), grain and sawdust are less readily apparent,
Taste: almost completely dominated by the heavily molasses and burnt sugar flavors of the rum until somewhere near the back, where rye grain and corn finally peek out, with the whiskey's oak combining with the burnt sugar notes to make a new sort of bitter finish
Finish: barrel char and burnt sugar, rye grain bitterness
Despite the preponderance of whiskey in this blend, it is almost completely dominated by the rum. In many respects, it resembles a heavy rum accented by rye rather than the other way around. While some of this is attributable to the rum's higher proof (151 vs. 90), it still demonstrates the depth of flavor contained in Lemon Hart 151. The 7:1 blend is definitely more balanced.
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