Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Pursuit Spirits. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.
The steady growth of the brown liquor segment of the broader spirits market has, of course, also created a healthy expansion of other industries that surround it. One of those is the podcast, Bourbon Pursuit created by Ryan Cecil and Kenny Coleman. In 2018, Cecil and Coleman expanded from the podcast to found Pursuit Spirits. Although United Rye is the newest release, the Pursuit Spirits’ brand also bottles Pursuit United Bourbon, a blend of bourbons from three different distilleries (in three different states), and the Pursuit Series, an ever-changing single barrel release where uncut and unfiltered whiskey is bottled straight from the barrel.
When one mash bill isn’t enough, why not three? Pursuit United Rye “wanted to show the art of the blend” so the founders selected three mash bills from distilleries located in two states. Providing two of the mash bills is Sagamore Spirit. The Sagamore distillery is located in Baltimore, Maryland, and focuses its product line on rye whiskey. The second distillery is Bardstown Bourbon Company, located in its namesake city of Bardstown, Kentucky. It is not surprising that Cecil and Coleman found a mash bill they liked, because this distillery produces “nearly 40 unique mash bills… for brands including Jefferson’s… and many others.”
I love the idea of a blend, and I certainly respect Cecil and Coleman’s effort to produce a whiskey that isn’t a traditional rye. In fact, they make it clear they wanted to create a rye that, “…spoke more to bourbon consumers.” As noted below in the “vital stats” one of the mash bills is 43% corn, so that goes a long way in helping this blend achieve that desired flavor profile. But a blend also puts to the test any creator’s ability to source just the right mix, and I can confirm that Pursuit United certainly seems to have benefited from Cecil and Coleman’s years of interacting with creators throughout the whiskey industry.
Tasting Notes: Pursuit Spirits’ Pursuit United Rye
Vital Stats: Aged no less than three years. 108 proof, 54% ABV. Mash bill: A blend of three different mash bills (1) Sagamore Spirit’s 52% rye, 43% corn, and 5% malted barley; (2) & (3) Sagamore’s and Bardstown Bourbon Company’s 95% rye, and 5% malted barley. SRP $65
Appearance: I do love a rich looking spirit, and this rye delivers with a pleasing old gold and copper honey hue. Held up to the light and viewed through my NEAT glass, its color holds its own.
Nose: A pleasant but still robust nose that reminds me of a spicier bourbon, with rich caramel, a freshly sliced green apple, and subtle hints of the rye cereal grain.
Palate: The initial mouthfeel is smooth with a light brown sugary, mellow introduction that is quickly followed by a wash of delightfully bright warmth owing to the 108 proof. Mid palate I definitely taste the rye spice and light oak, followed by black tea. The finish is medium-long, with the rye holding up throughout.
Count me a fan. In fact, for a few of my more casual sipper friends who tend to steer away from ryes (God knows why), this just might be the rye that wins them over – as long as they are OK with a higher proof. This release was only 2,076 bottles, and only available in stores in CO, GA, IL, KY, and TX, and online at Seelbachs.com. If you missed the opportunity to pick up a bottle, Pursuit Spirits will continue to bottle the rye as a yearly, limited release.
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Devon Lyon has spent the past two decades producing video content as well as writing copy and scripts for clients around the globe. But no matter how strong his natural wanderlust, it’s the Pacific Northwest he calls home. Whether it’s the growing local craft spirit scene, world-class wines, or a...