I love trying whiskey from different states and regions from the US – especially when they are actually distilled in that state and not sourced (not that I have anything against sourced whiskey). I saw Iowa No 9 whiskey sitting on the shelf, and I don’t believe I’d ever had Iowa whiskey before, so I decided it was worth a shot.
No. 9 Iowa Whiskey is a collaboration between Cedar Ridge Distillery and Slipknot. As I was reading the bottle, I was wondering what kind of business Slipknot was. I mean… it couldn’t be that Slipknot, could it? Yup, the death metal band is from Iowa. (Not my kind of music).
We’re going to talk a bit about the collaboration between Cedar Ridge Distillery and Slipknot before jumping into what their whiskey actually is. Then, we’ll cover the tasting notes to find out if Cedar Ridge and Slipknot produced a good whiskey.
Slipknot and Cedar Ridge History/Collaboration on No. 9 Iowa Whiskey
Let’s start with Cedar Ridge Distillery. They were founded by Jeff Quint in 2005. Prior to that, the Quint family had been farming and distilling for generations. Cedar Ridge became the first licensed distillery in Iowa since prohibition which is funny considering the fact that Iowa produces the most corn in the US.
No. 9 Iowa Whiskey is named after the 9 band members of Slipknot, and it was first released to the public in August 2019. The collaboration was simply between two Iowa based groups. In an interview Shawn Crahan, otherwise known as Clown in Slipknot, stated that Slipknot and Cedar Ridge are two groups of of Iowans that are committed to quality and hard work.
“Clown’s” full quote appears on the back label of the No. 9 Whiskey bottle.
No. 9 Iowa Whiskey Overview
- Spirit: Blend of straight bourbon and straight rye
- Owned By: Cedar Ridge & Slipknot
- Distilled By: Cedar Ridge Distilling & select casks from Kentucky and/or Indiana
- Aged: 4+ years
- ABV: 45%, 90 proof
- Mashbill: 51% corn, 35% malted rye, 14% malted barley
- Price: $40
Slipknot and Cedar Ridge wanted to create a whiskey that was bold and spicy, so they had to add a little rye to the mashbill. This resulted in creating a blended whiskey, with bourbon and rye, that finishes with a very high 35% rye in the mash. Now, I’m very excited to try this because I’m a big fan of malted rye, so we’ll see how this is.
While most of the whiskey is distilled at Cedar Ridge Distillery, they do source some barrels from Kentucky and/or Indiana. I’m not exactly sure how that works… do they source whiskey from both, or are they just saying that to keep people from deducting where the whiskey is sourced from? I’m not sure, but I’m glad that most of it is distilled in Iowa.
Their website claims No.9 Whiskey is made up of 3-4 yr barrels, but the bottle doesn’t have an age statement that I can find. This leads me to believe the website is outdated, and it’s a NAS whiskey, meaning 4+ years.
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No. 9 Iowa Whiskey is priced at $40, so it’s competitively priced – at least from the outside looking in. We’ll have to see if the taste matches, exceeds, or falls short of the price point.
No 9 Iowa Whiskey Tasting Notes
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get into the important stuff. Is Slipknot’s whiskey good? Time to pour myself a dram and find out!
Nose: Lots of oak and herbal spice off the bat. Caramel and honey come in with a bit of coconut and cherry as well as some chocolate covered nuts. Fruit opens up a bit more after sitting for 5-10 minutes.
Palate: Lots of oak and spice on the palate as well. Some clove, pepper, and anise hit first, and then chocolate and cherries come in at the end. It’s almost like two separate whiskeys. The rye hits first and then the bourbon.
Finish: Chocolate and cherries starts things off, but citrus and herbal spice kick in for a more floral finish. It leaves your mouth coated with some vanilla and oak for a medium in length finish.
Taste Summary – Is It Good?
No 9 Iowa makes for a pretty solid dram. Now, if you don’t like rye whiskey, you probably won’t like this. Luckily for me, I’m a big fan of rye. No 9 Iowa Whiskey tastes more like a rye to me, but there’s a bourbon sweetness and thickness to it as well.
The nose and palate have a lot of herbal spice. At first touch of the tongue, you can tell there’s a lot of rye. The spice hits hard and it’s a touch sharp, something rye-haters will criticize, but once you make it through, there’s a creamier mouthfeel with chocolate and cherries.
While the nose and palate were more herbal and earthen, the addition of citrus during the finish makes it more floral.
Overall, this is an interesting pour that I’ll continue to enjoy. Would I prefer if the spice were more brown cinnamon sugar? Yeah, but the herbal spice is a nice change-up.
Slipknot and Cedar Ridge have 4 expressions together.
First is their standard No 9 Whiskey that we’re reviewing here. Second is the No 9 Reserve which appears to spend an extra year or two in the casks. They also offer a Red Cask in which the whiskeys are finished in estate-owned red wine casks for an additional year before being blended together. Last but not least is their “moonshine”, which appears to be un unaged whiskey with a bourbon mashbill, or a minimally aged at least.
No 9 Iowa Whiskey Summary
Slipknot and Cedar Ridge came together to produce a bold American whiskey mashed, fermented, distilled, and aged right in the heart of Iowa. Now, they’ve certainly created a bold whiskey – it’s not super unique or anything, but it’s packed with a lot of flavor from the rye whiskey.
I think a lot of rye whiskey drinkers can appreciate this pour, so I’d recommend picking up a bottle if that sounds like you. Fans of Slipknot or those who have ties to Iowa can also appreciate this blend of straight bourbon and rye whiskey.