Castle & Key Woolgatherer Amburana Finished Rye: A Rye Whiskey for the Adventurous Palate. Review.

Castle & Key's Woolgatherer Amburana Finished Rye pushes boundaries! This rye whiskey ventures into amburana cask finishing, with an added touch of gin. We explore the unique taste profile influenced by rye spice, amburana sweetness, and lingering gin botanical notes. Is this rye whiskey for you? Read our review to find out!
The Woolgatherer
Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
Finished in Amburana Barrels
109 Proof
Castle & Key Distillery
Frankfort, KY
MSRP: $75

Please enjoy our Castle & Key The Woolgatherer Amburana Finished Rye Review!

Castle & Key Distillery’s Woolgatherer series consistently pushes boundaries, offering unique and experimental spirits. Their latest release, the Castle & Key Woolgatherer Amburana Finished Rye, is no exception. This rye whiskey ventures beyond the typical flavor profile, entering into the realm of amburana cask finishing, accompanied by a touch of gin.

The Allure of Amburana for Rye

Rye whiskey, known for its spicy and assertive character, can often be well-suited to finishing techniques that introduce sweetness or fruity notes. Amburana barrels, with their sweet cinnamon raisin bread overtones, seemed a natural fit. However, Castle & Key takes this concept a step further.

A Rye Steeped in Gin’s Ghost

In an unconventional twist, the amburana barrels used to finish this rye whiskey previously housed Castle & Key’s gin. This adds an unexpected layer of intrigue. The rye whiskey has not only absorbed the characteristic amburana flavors, but also subtle botanical influences from the prior gin resident.

Mash Bill

Castle & Key The Woolgatherer Amburana Finished Rye starts with Castle & Key’s Restoration Rye Whiskey. Restoration Rye’s mash bill is: 17% Yellow Corn, 63% Rye and 20% Malted Barley. The rye was fully matured and then finished in amburana barrels for 3 months. For those not familiar with amburana, there are three Amburana tree species which are native to South America. There, the wood is used for furniture, as well as for providing essential oils and for making barrels to age Brazil’s native spirit, Cachaca. It add a very noticeable and characteristic flavor to whiskey.

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Tasting Notes – Castle & Key The Woolgatherer Amburana Finished Rye Review

Let’s taste it:

🛏 Rested for 15 minutes in a Glencairn

👉🏻Nose: Sweet honey and brown sugar up front; cinnamon raisin bread; subtle spearmint, leather & botanicals; alcohol vapor seems relatively mild for the proof
👉🏻Taste: Cinnamon raisin toast, hot cinnamon toothpicks, cloves, anise, gin botanicals
👉🏻Finish: Hot cinnamon, dry wood; citrusy botanical tang; long; moderate warmth

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Tasting the Unexpected: A Symphony of Spice and Sweetness

The 109-proof Castle & Key Woolgatherer Amburana Finished Rye offers a flavorful nose. Sweet notes of honey and brown sugar mingle with the expected sweet cinnamon raisin bread from the amburana casks. However, there’s more to the story. Hints of spearmint, leather, and even whispers of botanicals peek through, hinting at the gin’s past presence. The alcohol vapor is fairly light for the proof.

The Flavors Continue Into The Taste

The same flavors continue into the taste, but the rye spices seem to become more noticeable, particularly cloves, with some anise, and gin-like botanicals, too. Those spices blend very well with the sweet cinnamon raisin toast to create a very complex flavor profile. Even though some sweetness remains, the cinnamon begins to take on the overtones of a hot cinnamon tooth pick (I used to love those!) as the sip goes on.

The finish becomes a bit more dry, with the hot cinnamon and botanicals lingering for quite a while. There’s a pleasant warming sensation as well.

Glencairn Glass & Bottle - Castle & Key Woolgatherer Amburana Rye Review
A Rye Whiskey for the Adventurous Drinker

Castle & Key Woolgather Amburana Finished Rye is different than other amburana finished whiskeys I have tried. That makes sense, since the rye base, gin botanicals and amburana notes are quite a potent combination! It’s actually quite a delicious blend, although I suspect it will be polarizing, as are all amburana finished whiskeys. If this flavor combination sounds intriguing to you, then you’ll want to give it a try!

We hope you have enjoyed our Castle & Key The Woolgatherer Amburana Finished Rye Review! Would you like to read about some of this distillery’s other whiskeys? Then check out our Castle & Key Wheated Bourbon Review and our Castle & Key Bourbon Review!

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