I’ve had my bottle of OYO (it’s pronounced oh-why-oh, so you don’t run around saying ohyo like I did before I knew better) batch 005 for a while now, and it appears that batch 008 was just released. I snagged a bottle, because OYO is a rare creature indeed – very small batches that are snatched up in no time at all by a greedy Columbus crowd. It’s understandable – if nothing else we Columbusites have a strong pride in what we produce, and OYO is no exception. It’s distilled by Middlewest Spirits, in a very small building they share with a meadery (but that’s a story for another day). They also make 3 different vodkas (unflavored, honey vanilla bean, and stone fruit), so to be clear I should have been referring to it as “OYO Whiskey”….but since I’ve warned you, at this point I’m going to assume you know I was talking about the whiskey, and I will simply refer to it by batch number for the remainder of this post.
Batch 005 first:
Color: deep gold-brown. When held up to the light, there are slight rosy undertones.
Smell: Astringent, reminiscent of a high-quality vanilla extract.
Taste: Light and creamy, with the same malty, grainy character found in other wheat whiskeys. This is the kind of whiskey that I would serve chilled on a hot summer night. A little bit of a burn on the palate.
Finish: Goes down fairly smooth, warms the chest after swallowing. The warmth lingers for a moment and leaves a slight aftertaste from the wheat.
Verdict: A very nice whiskey, but it seems a bit young. It almost seems like the distiller is still working out the kinks in his recipe, but with a bit of adjustment this could be fantastic.
And now for batch 008:
Color: Slightly lighter gold than batch 5, pink-gold undertones.
Smell: Honey, vanilla syrup, almost a coconut-crusted marzipan note in the background (that could be my imagination, but that’s what I’m getting from it). Like a decadent dessert in a glass.
Taste: Smooth caramely vanilla. The wheat flavor is still there, but mellow and taking a backseat to creamy sweetness. It feels like a marshmallow going over my tongue.
Finish: The sweetness lingers, leaving a caramel aftertaste in the back of my throat. Little to no heat on the way down, but it does warm up my insides for a moment after I swallow.
Verdict: I have to repeat what I said about the smell – it’s like a decadent dessert in a glass. I was expecting a difference, but I wasn’t ready for it to be this dramatic compared to the batch 5. I can’t say this flavor would be for everyone, because it is on the sweet side, but I imagine a dram of it paired with a slice of cheesecake would be divine.
Both of these are great. I enjoy the fact that I’m sitting here with two bottles of the same whiskey, made by the same distiller, and yet they are completely different. I suppose this is what comes from small-batch, craft products. It could just be the double-shot of whiskey I’ve consumed while writing this, but I get a warm fuzzy feeling knowing that this was distilled so close to where I live.