MB Roland Trio with Michael from Walkie Talky Brewing


Today we’re reviewing a selection of whiskies from MB Roland. Now American whiskey is not our area of expertise, and as such we’re bringing in an “ringer” to assist on these reviews.

Our ringer for these reviews is Michael Johnstone. Mike has over fifteen years experience working in beer, wine, and spirits. He’s also one of the founders of Edinburgh based Walkie Talky Brewing Co.

Walkie Talky have recently launched their first beer, the ONE-er Hazy Blonde Ale which we can highly recommended. If you’re interested in finding out more or just grabbing some tasty beer. You can head over to:

https://www.walkietalkybrewing.com

Anyway onto the reason you’re here, the whiskies:

MB Rolland Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey - Batch 72 New Oak #4 Char

Region: Kentucky

ABV: 54.0%

Price: £60

First up a Straight bourbon from MB. A straight bourbon for those who are unaware is:

  • Whiskey made in the USA from a mash bill of at least 51% of single grain: corn, rye, wheat or malt.
  • Matured in new, charred oak barrels.
  • Distilled to no more than 160 proof (80%).
  • Put into barrels at no more than 125 proof (62.5%).
  • Bottled at no less than 80 proof (40%).
  • Aged at least 2 years.

The mash bill on this one for those who are interested is 78% White Corn, 17% Rye, 5% Malt.

Nose

On the nose we get an Initial hit of corn, cinnamon, roasted venison, vanilla, moon pie (cream pie), fake sugar frosting, nutmeg, cloves, and green apple.

Palate

This is very well balanced, and not as sweet as we expected. The rye in the mash bill comes through quite prominently. This is baking spices in an apple pie, drizzled in sugar syrup. There’s also a good amount of alcohol punch, freshly grated ginger, and toasted brioche. Finish is nice and long with a sweet note that lingers on the palate.

Nose (water)

With water more of that candy cane sweetness shines through, some fresh pears, and warehouse aromas of wet oak.

Palate (water)

Water adds a touch of briny sea salt, and freshly pressed coffee, with a double scoop of sugar.

Conclusion

Very typical American bourbon, but that’s not a bad thing at all. Very good quality, lots of sweetness and depth, good length finish and great price.

Score: 8/10 


Side note before we move on to whiskey two.. On Mikes recommendation we tried these in both rocks glasses and glencairns. Depending on the whiskey in question, it made a huge difference to the nose/palate on these. The first whiskey for instance was much lighter, fruitier and juicier in the rock glass. In the glencairn it was much tighter, and aggressive. Unlike scotch that benefits from a glencairn, American whisky should be drunk from whatever glasses suits the whiskey in question best. 

MB Roland Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey - Batch 6 #4 Char

Region: Kentucky

ABV: 55.0%

Price: £70

We’re moving onto a straight rye next. To qualify as a rye you need to follow the rules mentioned above, but also have at least 51% rye in your mash bill. The mash bill here is 68% rye, 27% local white corn and 5% malted barley.

Nose

Nose opens with dried apple slices, strawberries, processed cheddar - showing some of the fatty oiliness, well fired jewish rye bread, caraway seed, Bakewell tart, and minty toothpaste.

Palate

This is mouth coating juiciness, menthol sweets, and some nuttiness. Pleasant finish that lasts forever. We were hoping for something a bit more interesting and complex, sadly this falls a little short.

Nose (water)

Initial hit of concentrated Coca Cola, cinnamon bark, and crusty bread. The oak is starting to appear in the background.

Palate (water)

With water there’s nutmeg, stewed apples in caramel, and a little fizz on the tongue. There’s also a touch of maple syrup - imagine if you burned your pancakes and doused them in maple syrup to cover up the burnt notes.

Conclusion

If you live in America, you’ve got much better options available, but for UK based people, this is probably one of the better bottles available. Mike notes that it’s flatter on the palate and less complex than he’d like, but we do think it’s pretty tasty. 7/10 for UK residents, 6/10 if you’ve got lots more options.

Score: 7/10 

MB Roland Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon - #4 Char Barrel #F07-18B

Region: Kentucky

ABV: 55.0%

Price: £69

For our last bottle of the night we’re going for a single cask release. Mash bill here is 78% corn, 17% rye and 5% barley. This is the same mash bill as the first bottle we reviewed above, the Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

Nose

On the palate there’s toffee, buttered popcorn (mix of sweet and salty married with oily, fatty butter), vanilla frosting, mint chocolate chip ice cream, lemon citrus and pear drops.

Palate

Viscous mouth coating cream cheese frosting, red velvet cake, strawberry jam, burnt wood chips, prominent alcohol, very warming - almost chilli heat.

Nose (water)

We’re now getting lots more menthol, wood spices, earthy forest floor, and treacle.

Palate (water)

Liquorice root, and Cornbread. Dilution has removed the charming notes from the whiskies character.

Conclusion

The rarity of single cask bourbon at cask strength helps pull this rating up, but this falls short of the small batch. Saying that it does have some very interesting flavours and aromas.

Score: 7/10 

  • 10 - Perfection. A whisky that we’ll remember forever.
  • 9 - Amazing. We’d pay through the nose for a bottle.
  • 8 - Great. Pick this up at RRP.
  • 7 - Good. Happy to have a dram or two but wouldn’t buy a bottle.
  • 6 - Passable. Would accept a dram, but wouldn’t seek it out.
  • 5 - Poor. Would drink if it was the only option.
  • 4 - Bad. Maybe it can be saved by ginger beer?
  • 3 - Awful. It can't be saved by ginger beer.
  • 2 - Pour it out
  • 1 - We’ve never tried a whisky rated this low and hopefully never will.

Interested in trying drams like these? We've created the Two Whisky Bros Dram Club to help you get access to high quality, rare whisky by the dram.

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