By Father John Rayls
Being a long time Hoosier, albeit one currently living in Texas, I have followed the storied adventures of a certain distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana with great interest. Now operating under the the name of MGP, the distillery located across the river and northwest of Louisville began producing in 1847.
However, many people are unfamiliar with the name because historically the distillery has not produced much under it’s own banner. They have instead produced large quantities of whiskey for other retail whiskey producers, and MGP is the main source of America’s “sourced whiskey.” There is a good likelihood you have sampled their products without being aware of it. Some companies go to great lengths to conceal their use of sourced whiskey.
MGP’s role as such a large player in the sourced whiskey industry underscores their quality and experience, which left many wondering when or if the distillery would release whiskey under their own name. MGP ventured into the arena of the retail market in 2014 by producing a very limited Medley Bourbon for the Whiskey City Festival in Lawrenceburg, but this was never released into the retail market. However, it paved the way for 2015.
Metze’s Select (Indiana Straight Bourbon Whiskey) 2015 is a limited edition bourbon, produced, bottled and marketed as an in-house, MGP brand, and named after their Master Distiller, Greg Metze. This bourbon is a medley of three distinct MGP bourbons. The first is 38% of a 2006 bourbon made with 21% rye. The second is 3% of a 2006 bourbon made with 36% rye. The final ingredient is 59% of a 2008 bourbon made with 21% rye. The blend is bottled at 93 proof (46.5% abv).
In the bottle, the Metze’s Select has a soft brown appearance. In the glass, it takes on more of a faint brownish-orange color. It has thin, long legs which will eventually form into beads on the sides of your glass.
The aromas are soft, but more than subtle. There is a nutty vanilla presence highlighted by a caramel nutmeg. Underneath the primary layer, you may find faint hints of chocolate and leather. It’s a little surprising that the nose isn’t more overtly spicy.
This is an enjoyable sipping whiskey. You will immediately notice a unique blend of sweet and spicy as it flows across the tongue. It targets the back of the mouth first, but quickly catches both sides of the tongue before eventually making it to the front of the mouth. There is a sweet, carmelized, woody vanilla flavor that wants to linger as it coats the mouth. The spice eventually takes over from a very subtle beginning to a dominating position with the finish. It is really interesting how the rye is initially very subdued. However, it comes on strong in a very long finish.
Metze’s Select is now available at a suggested $75.00 retail price. I was able to get it for less, but it took me several weeks of waiting to get my hands on it. Please keep in mind that only 6,000 bottles were produced, and the demand is high for this much anticipated release. I suggest that, with this success, I would be very surprised if MGP didn’t make it the first block in building their own retail line.