Editor’s Note: These whiskeys were provided to us as review samples by Pursuit Spirits. 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.
Ryan Cecil and Kenny Coleman formed Pursuit Spirits after creating the Bourbon Pursuit podcast. The podcast gave them the opportunity to speak with and learn from some of the top names in the industry, a great in-depth study in making the spirits. They have years of interviewing some of the best in the industry from producer to marketer to reviewer. And years, too, building a fan base and keeping up to date on trends.
The pair has two lines of whiskeys: the Pursuit Series and the Pursuit United. The Pursuit Series are special single-barrel selections (each dubbed “Episodes”) the pair has released over the years. The Pursuit United are the two flagship spirits of company, a bourbon and a rye. Though the goal is to keep the flavor profiles similar with each release, Cecil and Coleman now label their releases with batch codes. The July 2022 (7CC) releases are reviewed today.
The bourbon is a blend from three distilleries, the Bardstown Bourbon Co. in Kentucky, Finger Lakes Distilling in New York, and an undisclosed distillery in Tennessee. Each have slightly different mash bills, but are all at least 70% corn, with about 10% rye and 10% malted barley. The Pursuit Spirits Pursuit United Blended Straight Rye Whiskey is a blend of three: one 95% rye from Bardstown and two from Sagamore Spirit in Maryland: a 95% rye and a 52% rye that’s corn-heavy.
The whiskeys are quite the package, inside and out. These are meticulously crafted from grain to stylish bottle by the pair to satisfy their informed and curious audience. Their company offers up detailed technical notes online and concise tech specs on the bottle. By all appearances, these whiskeys have everything going for them.
Tasting Notes: Pursuit Spirits Pursuit United Blended Straight Rye Whiskey
Appearance: This is a deep mahogany-brown in color.
Nose: The nose offers up warm notes of whole grain toast, molasses, buckwheat honey, and black tea. There are some unusual notes of butter, warm corn chips, cooked blueberries, wet paper, and aluminum foil. It’s unusual yet intriguing and appetizing.
Palate: This opens with a bitter-sweet note. The body is moderate with grippy tannins. At first, it offered up a note of salty licorice that melts into notes of freshly baked pumpernickel bread, cherry-cola, and homemade root beer. This is loaded with cola spice notes. The finish is linger, building into distinct notes of tangerine peel and cloves that took a long time to fade. Fantastic.
Appearance: This is slightly paler than its co-release and is a moderate mahogany brown.
Nose: This is subtler than the rye, showing notes of dried apricots, fresh mountain air and petrichor. It’s warm and inviting with a sweet and savory element like candied tomatoes or roasted carrots with dill.
Palate: This is dry and unctuous on the palate with fine tannins. The spice notes are reminiscent of star anise and black pepper kernels. There’s a note of wood chips and mineral water. The alcohol feels high with a fiery burn on the tongue that carries through to the end, leaving notes of Maraschino cherry stems and apricot pits on the finish. This would make an excellent mixer, but it was quite tasty neat.
These were both impressive, exceptionally well-executed spirits that offer a lot of value for the price tag. I particularly appreciated their distinctive aromas. Their years of meticulous study paid off for these two industry insiders. Their deep and broad knowledge shows in their interesting and distinctive whiskeys. These are available in eight states and online at Seelbachs.com.
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Suzanne Bayard struck out to the West Coast with her now husband almost a decade ago to explore the intersection of wine and policy in its world-class wine regions. She manages a Portland, OR bottle shop by day as the wine buyer and newsletter editor. She is also the Director...