After trying some blends made with Russell's Reserve rye and Lemon Hart 151, I decided to see if I could improve them by using a more robust rye whiskey. And just for kicks, I decided to throw in a bit of mezcal to give it some smoke.
Willet Rye/Lemon Hart 151/Del Maguay Vida Blend
Nose: lots of dry pine-y rye notes, grain, slightly acrid smoke and burn sugar, green/vegetal notes, flambé bananas. After adding a few drops of water, the rye grain becomes more prominent, with the rum becoming an undercurrent,
Taste: rye grain, pine, and pickle juice (accented by the mezcal) throughout, slightly smoothed by the rum's molasses and banana notes in the middle, burnt sugar and toasted grain at the back. After dilution, the rum edges out the rye to make a much sweeter and smoother palate, with rye grain/pine and burnt sugar at the back.
Finish: burnt sugar, toasted rye grain, pine, a touch of vegetal agave
The switch that the nose and palate pull after adding water was quite interesting though. Sometimes it doesn't take a lot of water to push a spirit in one direction or another.
If I was going to do this again, I would up the amount of mezcal in the mix. It's such a strongly flavored spirit that I was worried about it overwhelming the other components, but with beefy stuff like Willet rye and Lemon Hart 151, I shouldn't have been. More smoke and vegetal agave notes would make for a great counterpoint to the other spirits.
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