Quixotic  Straight Rye Whiskey


Quix·ot·ic  \ kwikˈsädik  \ adjective

Quixotic is comprised of three barrels, all just shy of 6 years old. These straight rye whiskies were distilled and aged at Midwestern Grain Products in Indiana before being brought to California to finish the aging process. One of the three barrels was put into a freshly dumped François Frères French oak barrel, which previously held Russian River Valley pinot noir. Rather than the more common medium or medium plus toasting that wine casks receive, I chose a lightly toasted barrel that held the fruit-forward, low-tannin pinot noir grape to minimize bitterness, maximize texture, and bring out a more polished fruit profile to balance out the spiciness of the rye. To ensure the freshness of flavors, I filled it with straight rye whiskey just hours after emptying. I then took a fourth rye barrel and used it to top off the 59-gallon French oak cask and the remaining two rye casks so that the three casks were fully filled. All three casks were aged for an additional three months and then tanked together at 115.68 barrel proof where they mingled for a few additional weeks. Next, I cut it down to 101 proof and let it rest in the tank for another month before bottling on March 14, 2022. 

The aromas emanating from the glass extend beyond the dimensions of your typical 95% rye-mashbill whiskey. There are fruit tones like dried apricot, dried nectarine, and some un-ripe (green) wild strawberries, but they are all balanced by a plethora of savory spice aromas; cinnamon, kola nut, pink peppercorn, and vanilla bean all come to mind. Together they form a sum greater than its parts. Sorry, MGP fans, none of the dill or pyrazine aromas are found here. The fruit and subtle sweetness may even be enough to fool someone into thinking this was a bourbon. The oak is present but well integrated. The French oak influence is gentle, coming through in the texture and tannin mouthfeel. The American oak dominance makes its presence known by laying down a bass line for which the flavors can play a melody accompaniment. The palate is drier than you would initially expect from the nose, and that is where you are reminded, yes, this is indeed a rye. Perhaps I’ve been drinking cask-strength spirits for so long that 101 proof seems mellow, but smooth and mellow are apt descriptors for the finish. 

This is a remarkably small-batch blend, with only 860 bottles produced. If you look below the QR code on the back label you will see the serial code 005BL22. This means that it is the 5th Subtle Spirits bottling, which is a BLend, released in 2022.

A limited number of Quixotic collector editions will be available on OpenSea. Each set will include: a numbered and signed wax-dipped bottle, corresponding archival print hand-embellished by the artist, and a digital certificate of authenticity (NFT).

Read the complete story of the Quixotic.

-Joshua Thinnes

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