Whiskey Review: Remus Repeal Reserve Series III - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Remus Repeal Reserve Series III

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by MGP. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

George Remus was a criminal attorney in Chicago, but most notably a bootlegger during prohibition. He immigrated to the United States at the age of five with his family from Germany. At the age of 15, Remus became a pharmacist to help run the family drug store and put himself through law school. Seeing the criminals he defended easily drop cash for his fees, Remus got the idea to start bootlegging. 

As a lawyer, Remus knew the Volstead Act well, and in 1925 he was indicted for violating it. He used the loopholes to his advantage. He started a fake wholesale drug company, bought up numerous distilleries and their warehouses, and became both seller and buyer to distribute illegal liquor. Remus would sell the prohibited alcohol to drug stores, but then he would have his men hijack and steal the shipments while he cooked the books. He called this method, “The Circle.”

MGP, out of Lawrenceburg, IN, has been a supplier of distilled alcohol to many different brands over the decades, but they too have their own brand of whiskey. The brand is George Remus Bourbon, and it pays homage to the notorious bootlegger. In 2016, George Remus Bourbon launched the Remus Repeal Reserve label, which is an annual series that shows off their high-rye profile bourbons. 

At the end of 2019, MGP released the third expression of Remus Repeal Reserve. The blend for the Remus Repeal Reserve Series III includes 12% of a 2007 bourbon with a rye content of 21%, 78% of a 2008 bourbon with a rye content of 21%, and 10% of a 2008 bourbon with a rye content of 36%. Let’s see how it tastes…

Remus Repeal Reserve Series III

Remus Repeal Reserve Series III (image via Courtney Kristjana/The Whiskey Wash)

Tasting Notes: Remus Repeal Reserve Series III

Vital Stats: 50% ABV, 100 proof. Blend of high-rye bourbons aged 11 and 12 years. 750mL $85.

Appearance: Burnt ochre/bruleed sugar.

Nose: The first thing I get is a lot of black cherry, so much so that it is too abundant and overwhelming like cough syrup. It is reminiscent of the odor from a cotton ball used to remove nail polish with acetone. The whiskey weaves together pleasant and egregious aromas. For example, there is a dark brown sugar note, but then there is the smell of Sharpie drying on paper.

Palate: It tastes worse than it affronts the nose. There’s some flavor there, but overall it is mostly harsh on the tongue. There is an overwhelming amount of dry oak and leather. Some tobacco mixes with the baking spice from the rye. The black cherry from the nose comes out after finishing the sip, and lingers; that is nice.

The Takeaway

Summary

Well, the bottle is pretty. Sadly, the Remus Repeal Reserve Series III disappoints. I am a rye fan and love bourbons with high-rye profiles, however, this blend of the three chosen bourbons is not working. I'm willing to mix this in a cocktail, but neat or on the rocks I am not going to be drinking this alone. It's just so harsh, and it leaves me scratching my head. It's not the ABV or proof, but it tastes like rubbing alcohol artificial flavoring and color.

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