The promised Trybox series from Heaven Hill is in the stores and is priced, as advertised, at about $25. This 6c11 production is what would become Evan Williams Single Barrel were it to be aged into bourbon. It is released at barrel entry proof of 125.
I had a small sip at full proof and found it to be as expected, a bit of corn sweetness, some vegatative flavors, and quite alcoholic.
I cut the proof to 100 and sampled that. It has some buttery corny aroma with that same vegatative cast to the nose. The 'smell' reminds me of the greenish juice you get on your hands when you pick green beans or okra or some other vegatables. While not a bad spirit by any means, it has only two dimensions aside from the alcohol. The first is the corn sweetness and the second is that organo/vegatative flavor that is not unpleasant, but adds little to the interest of this spirit. It would be incorrect to call this whiskey, as I keep wanting to do, since it has not seen the inside of the barrel. It is a drinkable spirit, but needs the barrel badly in my estimation.
I did not purchase the Rye Dog, but will do so shortly. I did not want to try them on the same day or compare them to each other.......... yet.
delaware phoenix distillery's Rye Dog is more than drinkable in my experience (YEA Cheryl!) and that is because rye grain adds more character and complexity straight from the still than does corn. Cheryl's Rye Dog tastes exotic and is rich in fruit and other interesting tastes, while this 'Corn Dog' lacks in that regard. When I get the Heaven Hill Rye Dog, I expect it to be very different from this White Dog. Heaven Hill's Rye Dog is what goes into the barrel for Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey, a well-received product.
I would guess that this is primarily an experimental product from Heaven Hill that will, at best, remain in very low production. I think it is priced at the very highest point that its character would allow......... enough to more than justify its cost, and not so low that consumers will think it is just rot gut.
Personally, I have mixed feelings about this spirit. Compared to EWSB bourbon it is very incomplete. But, as one interested in bourbon, including its production and processes, I was and am willing to pay $25 to compare it to its intended final product. Bourbon made some changes because of it competition with Scotch by offering Single Barrel bourbons and even Barrel Proof bourbons (I believe Scotch led the way here with Single Malts and Cask Strength whiskies, if I am wrong about this someone will correct me).
Recently, the pressure has come from flavored vodkas and we now see flavored bourbons. I take this to be another round in a 'see how we are different but also new' approach to bourbon production. This has produced Beam's Ri(1) or whatever it is called, among others. We also have the 'experimental' bourbons from Brown Foreman and Buffalo Trace which are making every effort to attract younger customers whose taste tends toward 'novelty'. I do not blame the major bourbon producers for seeking a place in this market, their survival may depend on it.
Many of us BourbonEnthusiast types would prefer that the bourbons boys stick to the tried and true and even return to more 'primitive' methods and their are some micro distilleries doing just that. But the great hue and cry anong bourbon enthusiasts for lower entry proof in their standard products is likely to go unheeded. To get that kind of product the production costs are higher and with a smaller number of potential customers, the profits are lower.......... the cost will go up.
Unfortunately, seems us bourbons lovers can't have it our way, if we choose higher quality, we must pay more for it......... just as we have been doing. Buying White Dog or Rye Dog is just another subjective 'cost benefit' situation.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas