Bomberger's Whisky is a marvelous find. Made in the fashion of the old days of whiskey before the blood-lust of corn took hold over the jagged elegance of rye, this whiskey has guts and brawn in each sip. That is because is is 89% MGP Whiskey and 11% Rye whiskey from New York State. In other words there are barrels. Some barrels contain the flavors that are desired, others less so. But at the end of the day- good whiskey is what results from careful blending... In this case from mixing straight whiskey with rye whiskey.
I love rye for several reasons. The first and most important is the assertive nature of the grain. I often eat rye bread, so it stands to reason that I'd enjoy rye whiskey. Bomberger's is a faithful recreation of old style rye with a twist. The twist is probably the modern grains. Also the filtration. I'd hazard a guess that back in the 18th century rye was not filtered before bottling. But that's minutia. What I like about Bomberger's is the pure drinkability of the product. It reminds me in many ways of the passionate whiskies made by Barrell Bourbon. These are esoteric times with recreations of the old style for the adventurous drinker.
My tasting notes for the Bomberger's are as follows:
Bursts of caramel popcorn slathered in Vietnamese sweet chili sauce give way to brown butter and salted caramels. This gives way to the ever present heat, the 86 proof feels like much more against my tongue and lips. Going down my throat the Bomberger's tastes like charred peaches frozen and then grated over a dish of brown bread pudding. This is sophisticated whiskey. Not everyone will be able to find it, and I'm sure the fact that they source some of their distillate will certainly create a conversation.
I'm all for authenticity and "craft"... BUT I think that Bomberger's does a masterful job at blending. The Italians and the French have been blending wine from different regions for centuries. What is wrong with sourcing out quality liquor and blending it to your own exact specifications? I'm not sure but I'd hazard a guess that some people take this stuff very seriously, so rather than belittle them for their thoughts, all that I'd like to say is that I really like it.
Whiskey needs a sense of place in our society. I believe that it is part of our social thread. There is a certain amount of elitism in whiskey and for this I am sorry. I am not that way. Perhaps that's why I don't write about wine any longer for this exact reason. Too many great wines sit in cellars- never to be enjoyed.
I suppose the same goes for whiskey (and without the e) but I digress.... Bomberger's is well blended whiskey. It appeals to me. I think they do a fine job and I would like to someday taste what they make themselves. That would truly say to me craft whiskey. But no matter, as blenders of fine whiskey they are doing an excellent job.
Bomberger's is available in a few places. I think New York State- maybe on line if there is any left by the time I publish this piece. Hurry! Hurry!
And for Barrell Bourbon- get your hands on 003 or you'll be out of luck for the holidays coming up!