Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Tasting: Minor Case Rye

Minor Case Rye Whiskey
Straight Rye Whiskey

Distillery: Limestone Branch Distillery
Origin: MGP (Indiana)
Age: 2 years old
Proof: 90
Finish: Sherry Cask
Availability: Regular release
Price: $50 USD

86/100 points

Finished whiskey is popular these days, especially finished bourbons. From the really well-known: Angle’s Envy Port and Rum finishes, Jefferson’s Groth and Rum finishes and 1792’s Port finish.  Then there are the lesser-known brands like South Carolina’s High Wire Distilling’s New Southern Revival Bourbon Whiskey Madeira finish and Splinter Group Spirits’ Straight Edge Bourbon finished in Cabernet barrels. What you don’t see a lot of is finished rye whiskey.  Sure, there’s Whistle Pig.  But outside of that a lot of folks have a hard time naming another one.

And that’s where Limestone Branch is stepping in with Minor Case Rye finished in Sherry casks.

The obvious difference between Minor Case and the Whistle Pig expressions is the age. Minor Case is two years old while most of the Whistle Pig releases are 10 years old and up.  I tend to not judge a whiskey purely by its age though. There are a growing number of craft distilleries producing some spectacular young whiskies (I’m looking at you, Silverback!). So don’t knock ‘em until you try ‘em. And then provide your thoughts.

Back to Minor Case…

This whiskey was distilled at MGP in Indiana and selected by Stephen Beam. And yes, he’s part of that Beam family, incase you’re wondering. It was then bottled by Limestone Branch in Kentucky. In the official press release, Stephen says that this whiskey was inspired by and named after his grandfather M.C. Beam whose specialty before prohibition was making rye whiskey. He goes on to say that, “His mission was to craft only the finest whiskey — we are honoring him, his passion for distilling and what could have been if prohibition didn’t occur with this straight rye.”

The bottle itself is really a work of art. It’s a flask-style bottle with a wooden cork topper. Around the neckband is Stephen’s signature. The front of the bottle is embossed with “Minor Case” and the M.C. crest, which was used on his original bottles back when he owned his distillery.

The nose:

There are some great young rye aromas mixed with light oak, dried fruits; sweeter citrus/apricots and cherries. I really expected to find more of the young grains here but the Sherry finish really helps to balance those out.


For this to be a high rye whiskey (around 95% rye, 5% barley) I expected a ton of spice. It’s very soft and sweet though. The Sherry finish is much more noticeable on the palate with more of the citrus and dried fruits. There is some spice that creeps in however, mostly in the form of black pepper and cinnamon. It has sort of creamy cola taste to it at times, which I really enjoyed.


Where the palate lacked in spice the finish more than makes up for it. It’s medium to long with the black pepper and cinnamon really getting amped up. There are also some subtle mint flavors coming in.

I really enjoy this bottle.  In fact, if I’m in the mood for a finished whiskey I’ve found myself reaching for this bottle more than any other one I own. At $50 it might seem like a bit much for the two-year age statement but I really don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Especially if you enjoy rye whiskey like I do. Plus, it’s a beautiful bottle that will look good on your shelf. If you’re looking for something a little different try then pick up a bottle of Minor Case Rye.


Photo & Review By: Seth Brown

This bottle was graciously sent to me by Luxco, for the purposes of this review.