JT Meleck Rice Whiskey Review

JT Meleck Distillers is probably the only distillery in the US to make a rice whiskey distilled from 100% rice, on a production scale. Their flagship whiskey is JT Meleck Louisiana Small Batch Rice Whiskey. Wondering what it's like? Read our full review to find out!

JT Meleck Distillers
Louisiana Handcrafted
Rice Whiskey
Small Batch
Around 4.5 Years Old
96 Proof
MSRP: $44.99
Review

Please enjoy our JT Meleck Louisiana Small Batch Rice Whiskey review!

The JT Meleck Story Begins in 1896

The JT Meleck story began back in 1896. But, it didn’t begin with whiskey; it began with rice. The family patriarch, John Meleck, who is the great, great uncle of JT Meleck Distillers’ current owner, Mike Fruge, decided to grow rice on the family land. Years later, the family still grows rice on the land, and also crawfish. A few years back, when rice prices had plummeted, Mike was trying to come up with other uses for their rice. Someone suggested making vodka, and the rest was history.

Today JT Meleck Makes Rice Vodka and Rice Whiskey

Today, JT Meleck makes both rice vodka and rice whiskey. In fact, they are one of the only distilleries making a 100% rice whiskey in the US, and probably the only one making it on a production scale. A Google search does turn up some other rice whiskeys, made by craft distillers and/or made in Japan. Suffice it to say, it is not a common spirit in the US.

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But, Wait…How Can There Be Rice Whiskey?

The definition of whiskey in the US Federal Code begins with: ““Whisky” or “whiskey” is distilled spirits that is an alcoholic distillate from a fermented mash of any grain…”. Therefore, rice being a grain, can be made into a whiskey. To be called a “Rice Whiskey” it must contain at least 51% rice, just as bourbon must contain at least 51% corn. It also must be aged in charred new oak barrels and follow the other rules for whiskey.

JT Meleck Small Batch Rice Whiskey is made from 100% rice, distilled, then barreled and aged in 53 gallon new charred oak barrels. The current Small Batch is aged around 4 1/2 years. Let’s find out what its like!

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Tasting Notes – JT Meleck Louisiana Small Batch Rice Whiskey review

Let’s taste it:

🛌 Rested for 15 minutes in a Glencairn

👉Nose: Sweet; cherry, light brown sugar & simple syrup, lightly burnt caramel, toasted rice cake, vanilla, hint of cedar; moderate alcohol
👉Taste: Sweet; simple syrup and light brown sugar, darker cherry flavors, caramel; fairly soft mouthfeel
👉Finish: Some white pepper spice grows in the finish joined by a bit of black pepper later on. Medium length finish with lingering spice. Little burn.

The nose is fairly sweet with cherries, simple syrup and light brown sugar. There is also some lightly burnt caramel, and, maybe it is power of suggestion, but I get some lightly toasted rice cakes, too. On later sips, vanilla becomes more noticeable, as well. The same flavors and sweetness continue into the taste, with a fairly “soft” mouthfeel. The alcohol is noticeable in the nose, but less so in the taste. I am a little surprised by the spice that grows in the finish, but it is a nice compliment to the sweet nose and taste.

JT Meleck Louisiana Small Batch Rice Whiskey - Bottle
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Conclusion

JT Meleck Small Batch Whiskey is very easy to drink. In fact, their slogan is “Dangerously Smooth”. Would I have guessed that it was made from rice? Of course not. It has a different flavor profile than bourbon due to the lack of corn, but in some ways, it has similar flavors, too. That’s likely related to the contribution of the new charred oak barrels. Due to this whiskey’s easy drinkability and relatively “smooth” flavor profile, it is definitely joining my list of whiskeys I will recommend for those new to whiskey. Not to say that it wouldn’t be enjoyed by more experienced whiskey drinkers as well. However, for that group, JT Meleck has some outstanding higher proof single barrels that are definitely worth seeking out.

Have you had JT Meleck whiskey, or any rice whiskey? What did you think? Cheers!🥃

We hope you have enjoyed our JT Meleck Louisiana Small Batch Rice Whiskey review! Would you like to read another review of a whiskey made from an atypical grain? Check out our Bluegrass Distillers Blue Corn Bottled In Bond Bourbon Review!

This bottle was graciously provided by JT Melleck Distillers for my review.

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