RoughStock Black Label

"A remarkable very young single malt that shows what you can do with good casks"

(Photo from Whiskybase)

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RoughStock Distillery was opened in 2005 by Bryan Schultz in the appropriately named town of Bozeman to become the first new distillery in Montana since the prohibition (1920-1933). They quickly gained a good name with their young bourbon, rye, spring wheat whiskey and single malts, including the single barrel “Black Label” version that is the subject of our review today, all made from local ingredients. This single cask is matured for under three years in fresh American oak casks. Unfortunately, the RoughStock distillery has been closed since 2016, apparently the owner of the building wanted to use their space for additional showroom space and decided against renewing their lease contract. There were some rumours that they were looking for a new location, but since all their social media stopped in 2016, their website is off the net, and no other news has been heard, we must assume that they were unsuccessful. The heavy liquor regulations in the state of Montana, which allow one liquor licence per 1500 citizens in every town, will not have helped their relocation. I guess we have to cherish this chance to taste one of their products.

Nose

A dark nose that has much complexity. Surprisingly cheesy, accompanied with some spices and roasted raspberries (what?). It reminds a bit of the Sonomo Cherrywood Rye. I also find chive, a hint of pepper corns, all kinds of roasted herbs, including rosemary, roasted chicken seasoned with herbs and chicken bouillon. Remarkable nose.

Taste

The palate offers bread, a light sense of rye, and again the cheesy notes. Also cherries, crisps, a slightly salty touch, like salty fudge, salted butter,  and hint of strawberry sweets and vanilla ice cream. Develops into more vanilla cream and butter. It feels greasy, which I always can appreciate. Very good, albeit slightly hot. Aftertaste contains more of the above together with barbecued paprika and red pepper.

Overall

A very forceful and remarkable single malt that cannot officially be called whisky over here (less than three years old). Too bad that the distillery had to close, because this shows that they know how to make good whisky. Grab one if you can still find it. 

  • Review 2019-065
  • Single Malt
  • RoughStock Distillery (closed)
  • RoughStock (closed)
  • Distilled in 2011
  • Bottled in 2014 (cask 153)
  • New American oak barrels
  • Natural colour
  • Non chill-filtered
  • 61.65
  • Undisclosed number of bottles
  • ±70-80
  • Difficult to find
  • Whiskybase #96163

What others say

Whiskybase: 86.70 (13 votes) * @AllThingsWhisky: 90/100
Read for yourself

Big thanks to for sharing the sample!

Scores

these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
65%
Sweet <-> Spicy
70%
  • Cheese
  • Peppers
  • Roasted herbs
Nose 88%
Taste 87.5%
Balance 86.5%
Depth 87%
Finish 87%
Score