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Hard Truth Distilling Caramel Malt Sweet Mash Rye 2023




Whiskey Review: Hard Truth Distilling Caramel Malt Sweet Mash Rye 2023

Tasting Notes:

Distilled from a mash bill of 51% rye, 38% corn, and 11% caramel malted barley, aged at least two years and bottled at 116.6 proof.
It is another lovely day in brownish-amber color land in glass, offering good legs and decent viscosity.
Caramel richness and buttery undertones immediately jump to the forefront on the nose, joined by notes of subdued spice, oak, toffee, peppercorn, and a slight drop of apple.
If you like caramel notes, this one is for you. That’s the big one on the palate, backlit by some rye spice, buttery popcorn, oak, toffee, black pepper, and coriander.
The finish has a caramel corn note that carries some spice. It also holds for an extended period before fading out.
This one has a lot to unpack, and that’s a good thing. Even with the higher proof, the flavor profile is complex and inviting. The caramel is there, and I feel like this would pair well with caramel chews. Nicely done.

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. Per our editorial policies, this in no way influenced the outcome of this review. 

In its time on the Indiana whiskey scene, Hard Truth Distilling has established itself as one of the craft leaders in that state. Begun in 2015, one of the things that’s become something of an in-house style is embracing the so-called “sweet mash” way of making whiskey. As we’ve explained in the past, this approach involves having each new batch of whiskey begin with a freshly made mash rather than reusing a portion of the spent mash from the previous production cycle, which would be considered the “Sour Mash” style more commonly used by many bourbon and rye makers today.

Today’s Offering

On the rye side of Hard Truth’s distilling playbook, a yearly offering is a series of whiskeys known as Master Distiller’s Reserve Collection. First released in 2022, this lineup focuses on using specialty roasted malts to impart more unique flavors into each expression. As Hard Truth has noted, “Chocolate malt is malted barley roasted to a very dark color which brings flavors of espresso and chocolate (like in a porter or stout beer). Caramel is roasted half as long and is more like caramel corn, sticky toffee in its flavor contributions.

“Malted Rye is a 100% rye whiskey which utilizes a portion of the mash bill in rye grain and a portion of rye grain that has been malted or sprouted and then kiln dried.”

Today, we’re reviewing the Hard Truth Distilling Caramel Malt Sweet Mash Rye 2023. Distilled from a mash bill of 51% rye, 38% corn, and 11% caramel malted malted barley, this rye whiskey has been aged at least two years and is drawn from a “small batch” of 10 barrels. It is available in 750 ml bottles and is bottled at 116.6 proof.

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