It seems safe to say that after numerous high-quality releases, word has probably gotten out among the American whiskey world on the George Remus brand by this point, and specifically the excellent bottles in the Remus Repeal Reserve series. Produced at the “historic Ross & Squib Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana,” which pretty much all bourbon geeks still tend to refer to simply as MGP, the Remus brand has been a wonderful way for one of the genre’s most important distilleries to codify their own house style, rather than simply producing copious amounts of bourbon and rye for countless sourced brands.
From the start, the Remus Repeal Reserve brand has effectively been the standard bearer for how MGP sees their high-rye bourbon recipes, and these bottles started out as “good” and only got better from there. I’ve said as much in the past, but I’ll say it again: I actually like that they’ve stuck to the 50% ABV (100 proof) point on these bottles as well, perhaps as a conscious refutation of the idea that all “special” and limited release bourbons need to be presented at cask strength. The 100 proof point simply works extremely well for these whiskeys, though one could do without the price creep that has seen Remus Repeal Reserve grow from being an $85 bottle a few years ago to a $100 bottle today. But given the pandemic and subsequent inflation boom, that’s probably to be expected. Also: The series has seemingly gotten older over time as well.
So, what do we have here in the newest release, Series VI, which will be hitting shelves in Sept. of this year? It’s composed of the following:
— 29% 2014 bourbon (21% rye mashbill)
— 25% 2014 bourbon (36% rye)
— 27% 2012 bourbon (21% rye)
— 17% 2012 bourbon (36% rye)
— 2% 2008 bourbon (21% rye)
Which is to say, this is primarily a blend of 8-10 year old high-rye bourbon, from both of MGP’s high-rye mashbills, with a splash of 14-year-old 2008 bourbon thrown in as well, presumably for a little oaky complexity. Like other Remus Repeal Reserve releases, it’s bottled at 50% ABV (100 proof), with an MSRP of $100 for Series VI. So with that said, let’s get to tasting.
On the nose, this one leads off a little bit delicately—sweet and fruity, but slightly reserved rather than immediately big or intense. I’m getting lovely notes of baked fig or dates, along with aromatic cinnamon, a little chocolate and toasted oak. Ethanol is extremely mild on the nose, accentuating the gentleness here.
On the palate, this one also has a certain mildness, but it’s lush and supple at the same time. Candied fruit is a big player, with darker notes of plum or bramble fruit, along with ginger snaps, cinnamon, and a moderate brown sugar sweetness. This is accentuated by barrel char and hints of old oak, along with rye spice and a touch of mint. Ethanol, again is extremely mild, which makes this register as somehow both decadent and effortlessly drinkable. It’s just really remarkably balanced between elements of fruit, caramelized sugars and spice, with subtle supporting oak.
All in all, this is a masterfully balanced expression of what MGP presumably believes their high-rye bourbon mash bill is all about. It’s not the most bombastic or boisterous release, but the beauty here is in the balance, making for one of the most harmonious bourbons I’ve sampled in recent memory. Overall, this might be the best entry in the Remus Repeal Reserve series to date—if you don’t demand all your drams be cask strength, it’s one to go out of your way to acquire.
Distillery: MGP of Indiana (Luxco, Ross & Squib Distillery)
City: Lawrenceburg, IN
Style: Straight bourbon whiskey
ABV: 50% (100 proof)
Availability: Limited, 750 ml bottles, $100 MSRP
Jim Vorel is a Paste staff writer and resident beer and liquor geek. You can follow him on Twitter for more drink writing.