That Distiller Who Made Your MGP Rye Gets Into The Whiskey Game Again

The Whiskey Wash | Nino Marchetti | November 3, 2017

It is, by now, no secret that many a sourced whiskey brand heralds its liquid from that behemoth MGP distillery in Indiana. Perhaps less known is the fact master distiller Greg Metze was the one responsible for crafting the juice. Though he left MGP last year, he chose to stay in the game and now has surfaced at a craft distillery out of Colorado that’s just put its first bourbon out to market.

Old Elk Distillery, according to those behind it, is the brainchild behind Old Elk Bourbon. The distillery, more or less a self-described production facility at the moment (a vision to open a larger distillery and tasting room in Colorado is being considered), gives Metze and Old Elk founder Curt Richardson of Otter Products fame room to roam in making their whiskey. It is a bold undertaking for both, but something that under Metze’s years of knowledge has a solid chance of being a success.

As for the bourbon, I don’t want to take too much away from the original reporting from bourbon writer Fred Minnick, who first reported on it over at his site. Thus our information comes from what the distillery put out there – it has a mash bill made of malted barley, corn and rye, with what’s said to be “four times more malted barley then traditional recipes” used to offer a sweeter, lighter feel on the palate. It is also crafted from a so-called slow cut proofing process meaning that, according to Old Elk,

after testing a variety of proofing periods, we found that flavors come together in a smoother bourbon when the proofing stages are longer. Instead of taking the usual 24-48 hours for proofing, we use a slow cut proofing process during which full-barrel proof bourbon is cut and left to rest – we repeat this patient technique until the ideal character is achieved. It takes significantly longer than most common recipes, but taking the time to proof slowly makes all the difference.

You'll find official tasting notes for Old Elk Bourbon below from the distillery. It is bottled at 88 proof.

  • Aroma: Sweet vanilla and caramel, clove spice, slight maple, and nutty almond
  • Taste: Maple syrup, almond, raw bran, chocolate, deep wood and coconut
  • Mouthfeel: Smooth and coating with a lasting flavor

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