By Father John Rayls
Minor Case Straight Rye Whiskey is named after one of the Beams, that near-ubiquitous Kentucky Bourbon clan, in this instance the grandfather of Limestone Branch’s Steve and Paul Beam. These two modern day Beams opened Limestone Branch Distillery in 2011 in Lebanon, Kentucky, near where their grandfather, Minor Case Beam, had operated his distillery prior to Prohibition. Minor died shortly after Prohibition was repealed.
The distillery says this is a two year old, high rye content whiskey, bottled in Kentucky at 90 proof, but distilled and aged in Indiana. Adding value, Minor Case Rye has been finished in Sherry casks, and the flavor profile greatly reflects this exposure.
The bottle and label are both quality, antique reproduction works of art. The bottle in particular has been embossed significantly, complete with the family crest of Minor Case Beam’s heyday and is shaped like a flask.
The color is not as dark as might be expected after Sherry cask finishing. It’s a light coppery color, and the legs are fantastic. They appear rapidly and hold their form for a lengthy period of time.
The nose is soft, and must be pursued vigorously to detect its components. It’s a little sweet and fruity, but some spice on top of light oak is present. There is a very light alcohol burn when inhaled deeply.
As mentioned earlier, the Sherry cask influence is readily apparent. This rye is very smooth, with a creamy mouthfeel, and filled with a sweet fruit flavor up front. It’s not what is typically expected from a high rye content Rye whiskey. On the palate, the taste is all on the mid-tongue area while the finish hits the entire back of the mouth both upper and lower. It’s much more cinnamon than pepper; although, it does eventually transition into the latter. (By the way, if you have any dark chocolate available…wow!)
However, the finish makes up for any perceived shortcomings in the tasting experience, with its length and impressive spiciness. As it turns out, the Sherry influence can only hold back the spice for so long.
The official price for Minor Case Rye is $49.99.