Overall, the nose of Shortbarrel Rye is very mild. However, when I first opened the bottle...BOOM...I was hit with a friendly and noticeable whiff of rich caramel and rye. Once the juice settled in the glass, all of that beautiful aroma dissipated. I did not get much on the nose other than some mild rye spice and floral notes on the initial sip.
The first sip of this more than made up for the uninteresting nose. I don't know if this makes sense, but Shortbarrel Rye tastes dark. While its color is dark amber, the taste reflects the color. It is very creamy and rich, and you can almost see the viscosity, which is also moderately thick. According to Shortbarrel, their first entry into rye is a blend of non-chill-filtered MGP rye barrels, all over five years old. If this is their first try at a rye blend, I say, "Job well done!"
Shortbarrel is a rye lover's rye. Unlike, let's say, WhistlePig 10 Year Rye, the traditional rye flavor is notable and mixes well with the caramel creaminess. The palate is peppery and sweet, which I typically look for in bourbons and ryes, and this Shortbarrel Rye hits the mark. While the spice is assertive, which is what you want in a rye, it is not overwhelming nor too hot like Old Forester Single Barrel Barrel Proof Rye. It's very, very drinkable and full of flavor.
With its spice and sweet oak, the finish is of medium length and very warm. It provides a noticeable by very drinkable hug without the sharpness that some ryes have.
Overall, if you are a rye lover and are looking for an everyday sipper where you can taste the rye and underlying flavors, you need to consider this.
A comparison of Shortbarrel Small Batch Rye and WhistlePig 10 Year Straight Rye.