Doc Swinson’s Alter Ego Double

American Whiskey Review #93 & 94: Doc Swinson’s Alter Ego Double

Like a few other users on /r/bourbon, I got a message from the folks over at Doc Swinson’s on if I’d like to try a few of their new whiskies. The offer came with no strings attached, they didn’t even ask that I publicly post a review (only that I tell them if I do post one). I am, of course, not going to say no to free whiskey but I figured I should make it abundantly clear where these samples came from. They have not seen this review prior to me posting it and have had no input on it beyond the specs provided.

American Whiskey Review #93: Doc Swinson’s Alter Ego Solera Aged Rye

Distillery: MGP

Bottler: Doc Swinson’s

Region: Indiana

Batch: Alter Ego batch 4 (21-004)

Age: NAS. 4-5 year old.

Blend Makeup: Blend of 95% and 51% rye whiskeys.

Cask Type: Rum cask solera

ABV: 47.50%.

Price: Sample courtesy of Doc Swinson’s.

Color: 0.9, Amontillado Sherry.

Nose: Fresh cut grass with a bit of spring water. For a rye whiskey, it is really muted.

Palate: Fairly bitter and astringent. There’s a trace metallic note, something that I’ve picked up on a few Irish whiskies and rums, but it isn’t particularly pleasant. With a little bit of water, you do get some cereal grain sweetness that helps counteract the bitter notes but it’s far from enough.

Finish: On the short side of things. It’s bitter again.

Conclusion: From the spec sheet, I was pretty excited to try this one. A MGP rye whiskey that’s had a bit of rum cask influence just sounds tasty. Unfortunately, I’m not sure what has happened here but I was left thinking “where’s the rye?”. Nothing about this would give away that it’s a rye whiskey and especially not an MGP one. The rum cask doesn’t seem to have imparted much either. The taste and aftertaste specifically remind me of when I’ve had whiskey after eating Halo ice cream (there’s just something about that combination that doesn’t work). I haven’t had any Halo ice cream recently though, so it’s quite unpleasant. I tried this one first out of the two and wondered if my taste buds were just off, but having had the other I can say there’s something about this one that doesn’t sit right with me.

Final Score: 55.

American Whiskey Review #94: Doc Swinson’s Alter Ego Triple Cask Finished Bourbon

Distillery: MGP

Bottler: Doc Swinson’s

Region: Indiana

Batch: Alter Ego batch 4 (21-004)

Age: NAS. 5-6 year old.

Mashbill: 21% rye bourbon.

Cask Type: Finished in sherry (both PX and Oloroso) and cognac casks for 3 months. Blended and rested in sherry and cognac foeders.

ABV: 47.90%.

Price: Sample courtesy of Doc Swinson’s.

Color: 1.0, Deep Copper.

Nose: It’s a bit boozey and fruity. It smells of white wine or slightly over-ripened grapes that are starting to ferment. A bit of fresh, clean spring water comes through as well.

Palate: There’s a nice, pleasant warmth to this dram. It is sweet, but not overly so, with cereal grain notes driving that. Beyond the grain comes some floral and intense earthy notes. In particular, there’s a dash of cigar smoke. A little bit of oak pops through as well, the kind that I generally associate with cognac.

Finish: Short again. There’s a hint of sherry and a little more cognac as well.

Conclusion: If served to me blind, I would not have guessed that this is a bourbon. It tastes a lot more like a grain Scotch whisky than anything. The Cognac cask finishing appears to have imparted a decent amount of flavor to this though. You get this intense earthiness and a dash of cigar smoke that I’ve only had from Cognac finishes. The sherry casks don’t come through quite as much, but perhaps they served to temper and balance the palate a bit. All in all, it’s definitely an interesting one and one different enough that I might keep a bottle around. I do wish a little more of the bourbon itself came through though, as it does come off more of a grain Scotch than not.

Final Score: 77.

American Whiskey Review #93-94, Rye Review #16, Bourbon Review #69, Whisky Network Review #394-395

Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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