Review: Journeyman Corsets, Whips and Whiskey and Pit-Spitter Cherry Rye

It’s been a hot minute since we last checked in on Michigan’s Journeyman Distillery. Now we’re back with a look at two humorously named expressions, one a wheat whiskey and the other a flavored rye whiskey. Thoughts follow.

Journeyman Corsets, Whips & Whiskey – A single distillation of 100% organic Michigan wheat bottled at cask strength. The name comes from the odd combination of 19th century occupants at the distillery’s Featherbone factory building, a corset and buggy whip manufacturer. The aroma is complex for a wheat whiskey with layers of sweet oak, light butterscotch, marshmallow, cream soda, and even a bit of cherry. There’s a surprising depth here, and it seems to get deeper each time you nose the glass. On the palate, an initial hint of grain gives a somewhat malty and youthful first impression that is almost immediately eclipsed by the quick development of more complex flavor. It’s rich and chewy with top notes of torched sugar, dark vanilla bean, and caramelized pineapple, reminiscent of a well-aged rum. The finish is generous and warming with fading notes of torched marshmallow and peach candies. A standout offering from this craft distillery and one of the best wheat whiskeys I’ve ever come across. Reviewed: Batch 10. 117 proof.

Journeyman Pit-Spitter Cherry Rye – Made by macerating fresh Michigan Montgomery cherries for 14 days with the distillery’s Last Feather Rye. The nose is bright with a fresh dark cherry note, sweet and a touch syrupy. It’s not a classic cocktail cherry profile exactly, closer to Juicebox cherry or cherry syrup in a snow cone. A bit of mild rye spice, soft oak, and sugar syrup add some complexity, but the cherry is, as advertised, the overwhelming aroma. While the nose may have suggested something more saccharine and perhaps a bit artificial, the palate instead leans toward juicy and tart. The sweetness was clearly carefully monitored, designed to deliver a profile of plump cherries fresh-picked from the orchard. The rye whiskey has added a bit of depth with a mild caramel foundation, but the spirit really hides underneath all that fresh cherry flavor. Not exactly a sipper, but it’s certainly fun as a modifier in an Old Fashioned or Manhattan. Or over ice cream. Reviewed: Batch 23. 70 proof.

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