Raising Spirits with Georgann, Volume: 3

Let’s see here. If you’ve read the last couple volumes of Raising Spirits, you already know quite a bit about me. Something you might not know is that, in a past life, I was a music history major. There are few things I enjoy more than listening to great orchestral or choral works while enjoying a whiskey.

With these warm days at hand, I am all in on Melky Miller, a corn whiskey that’s made in the Maryland rye style. What does that even mean? A corn whiskey made in a rye style – it makes no sense. That’s part of why I am enamored by this little gem from Philadelphia. Curious to learn more about this personal favorite? You know what to do…

Did you hear the rumor about butter? Well, I’m not going to spread it…

I know, I know. Usually Matt talks about pairing music with wines. Well, he’s not the only one who know a thing or two about tunes. Turns out that my music history background has given me a couple of things to ponder – and how better to ponder than with a little spirit? This month I’m going to take a moment to tell you about two of my current obsessions: Slava! A Political Overature by Leonard Bernstein, and Melky Miller American Whiskey by New Liberty Distilling.

Slava! was written by Bernstein in 1977 as a tribute to his friend, Mstislav (Slava) Rostropovich, for Rostropovich’s inaugural season as musical director of the National Symphony Orchestra. The piece, although only about four minutes long, has two distinct sections: “The Grand Old Party,” and “Rehearsal.” The piece is lively, almost Vaudevillian in its musicality, combining a vibrant personality with complex rhythms. If you like percussion and brass, this is one hell of a piece to get you going.

The heft of Slava! is the perfect juxtaposition to the fun Melky Miller. Melky is 100% corn whiskey, made in the traditional Maryland rye style. What does that even mean? So, this whiskey is part of the Heritage series from New Liberty. The Heritage Series focuses on whiskey recipes from Maryland (the other two whiskeys are Melvale Rye and Maryland Club Bourbon), with Melky Miller’s recipe dating back to the late 1800s.

A Maryland style rye refers to a softer style of rye, in that the mash hovers around 51% rye and then is softened by higher amounts of corn, wheat, and/or barley. With Melky Miller being 100% corn, you bet your ass that this is a softer spirit.

If you’re thinking this is weird, you’re 100% right. It took me a long time to wrap my head around this lively spirit. It’s light and slightly sweet – seems normal, right? Well, Melky Miller is aged for eight years, which would suggest that the whiskey is going to be a bit rich in texture, as well as a bit woodsy. That is certainly not the case here. Melky is rather pale in color and features a lightly sweet caramel nose. On the palate, you’ll find hints of cinnamon that eventually give way to vanilla and notes of brown sugar. The finish lingers in a satisfying, warming way. Honestly, this is a whiskey for all year round, why not start with summer?