It’s 20 degrees outside, and the forecast is for up to 4 inches of snow tomorrow. So as I typically the case in my evening routine, I went to my liquor cabinet for a little warmer-upper. After a little pondering, I decided to commemorate this cold snap by picking something from Ohio’s own snow belt; you guessed it, Cleveland’s own Tom’s Foolery Rye Whiskey.
The distillation methods used by the folks at Tom’s Foolery are really quite interesting, using a grain to bottle approach that even includes the grinding of their grains. But the real question is whether this whiskey provided the warmth that I was wanting?
Let’s check it out:
Visually, Tom’s Foolery Rye was packaged in a nice looking bottle with a wax wrapped cork stopper. The spirit itself although appearing rather thin in texture did leave some lingering legs on the glass. With a color that was a soothing toasted golden brown, it created a mental image of a warm summers day as opposed to that of a cold winters evening. But enough with the daydreaming, it was time to take a sip.
Hmmm, I have to say, the nose was somewhere between complex and unusual. The nose led with a strong astringent, perhaps citrusy quality with a trailing sweetness that made me go hmmmm?
At first taste, I felt a tingle all throughout my mouth, once again rather unusual. Finally, a warmth settled into the back of my throat(there it is). A mild harshness of ethanol was present, most likely a result of the youth of the product as well as the mash bill (70% rye – 30% malt) content. I anticipated that the mouthfeel would settle down, but it never really did. Yet, after each sip, I would be left with a sweet taste in my mouth and sometimes followed by an earthiness of an almost mushrooms-like quality. Hmmmmm.
So I decided to try something a little out of the ordinary for me; I plopped in a sliver of an ice cube. Sure enough, most of the burn and astringency went away. Additionally, a hint of cinnamon and malt started to become present. Ah ha!
My Take: Although Tom’s Foolery is a relatively new operation, it utilizes some wonderful old-school techniques that speak to the passion of it’s owners, Tom, and Lianne Herbruck. It’s obvious that Tom’s Foolery Rye Whiskey lacks the age that brings the fantastic character and definition to a whiskey, but I still found it to be very drinkable, and without a doubt, mix worthy. At around $35 per bottle, it’s worth having one or two in my collection, in support of this passionate micro-distillery. I look forward to keeping a close eye on the Tom’s Foolery products as they continue to age.
“Tom’s Foolery began as a hobby: a barn, a still, and a family with passion for quality and tradition. Today, we make all our products the same way, by hand, just one-barrel-at-a-time. Tom’s Foolery is a traditional American distillery where we make great products from scratch and share the experience with friends. “