You know what they always say, you want what you can’t have. That has been my feeling when it comes to the Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskey since it is a distillery only release, but here I am finally making it happen (thank you Sugarland!).
Now, this is a whiskey that really doesn’t need me to vouch for it. The Roaming Man has been clearing up the awards circuit since it first hit the whiskey scene. Born in Gatlinburg, Tennessee by a bunch of passionate funky “moonshine” making folks, the 4th edition took home six gold medals in 2017 and sold out in… wait for it… 30 minutes! Those are the sort of results that speak for themselves but don’t give tasting notes, so here I am!
I’ve said it once and I will continue to say over and over, that clarity is so important in the whiskey industry. Sugarland may be the clearest distiller I have ever seen. When you get your bottle of Roaming Man the label is going to give you everything from the mash bill, to the staves used, to the barrel treatment, to the evaporation and get this, even comes with a chromatogram chart. This is the science lover and chemists dream whiskey! While tasting the Roaming Man I actually had a really terrific time referencing back to the chart to see what congeners and/or compounds were creating the flavors I was experiencing.
Now for the dirty details about, of which, Sugarland tells them all:
- Abv 60.9%
- 51% Rye 45% Corn 4% Malted Barley
- Barrel Type: American White Oak
- Staves: 6 Months Air Dried
- Treatment: #3 and #4 Char
- Barrel Size: 25 Gallons
- Avg Evaporation: 21%
AND, this isn’t even all the info I could give you on it!
Color: Now the whiskey itself is a nice crystal clear orange copper with some lovely cask strength crystal legs in the glass.
Nose: The heat is there, but not as much as I was expecting. Working past the slight ethanol the whiskey opens into a spice apple cider, lots of apple on the nose. There are HUGE floral spices, lots of sweet sugars (molasses?), and freshly cut hay. Really carries the nose of everything I want and love in a rye whiskey.
Palate: Alright alright alright, here comes that cask strength heat… BUT it still isn’t there… curious. The palate is nice and decadent. Vanilla bean crème brûlée with that nice burnt sugar top that just cracks wide open to the huge flavors. The apple is calmer on the palate and instead is more of banana bread, with sweet grains.
Finish: This finish reintroduces the terrific big rye florals and spices, but brings with it this time a spoonful of honey, the lingering flavor is a lovely dried oak that takes you into a short finish. On the finish, I still found hardly any heat. I don’t know how, but Sugarland really tamed the cask strength abv of the Roaming Man leaving you with an incredibly smooth and sippable rye whiskey!
The Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskey is the big bold (young) rye the world deserves and needs in the oftentimes bleak state of affairs. The whiskey is a no-nonsense, no gimmicks, full clarity, damn good rye whiskey. In the glass, it drinks far beyond its age (thanks to the smaller barrels) and is so full of balanced flavors.
The Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskey will have you dreaming of summer nights sitting on the tailgate of an old pickup truck in the backwoods of Tennessee!
Now to figure out how to get a full bottle of the 5th edition, pre-sale is launching Wednesday, April 18th, back to Colorado… we always want what we can’t have… but if you’re lucky enough to be nearby the distillery. Go get a bottle and thank me later!
The words and opinions are all mine, but the sample was provided to me by Sugarland Distilling Company.