Review: CB Fisher’s Straight Rye Whiskey 2021 Distiller’s Reserve Maple Syrup Barrel Finish

DSR – NC – 022: CB Fisher’s Straight Rye Whiskey 2021 Distiller’s Reserve Maple Syrup Barrel Finish

Company/Distillery: Greensboro Distilling Co./Fainting Goat Spirits, LLC

Location: Greensboro, NC

Mash Bill: 60% Rye, 30% Corn, and 10% Malted 2 Row Barley

Age Statement: No Age Statement (At least 2 years old); Finished 6 months in maple syrup barrels

Proof/ABV: 92.3 Proof/ 46.15% ABV

Color & Viscosity: This maple barrel finish rye from Fainting Goat Spirits presents a beautiful deep auburn color in the bottle. In viewing this rye whiskey from the tasting vessel, a vibrant lighter tawny color is detected. Tilting the glass to the side, a thin viscous line is observed. The thin line develops to a medium viscous lip. As the glass sits, the medium line becomes mid-sized droplets that slowly descend to the belly of the tasting vessel.

Purchase Price: $53.45 from the distillery in May 2022; 750 ml

Bottle Label Information:

Neck Label

“Straight Rye Whiskey”

“Artisanal Spirits | Family Owned”

“Fainting Goat Spirits”

Front Label

“CB Fisher’s”

“Handcrafted Small Batch”

“Straight Rye Whiskey”

“Distilled and Bottled by Fainting Goat Spirits LLC, Greensboro, NC”

“Small batches handcrafted in North Carolina”

“2021 Distiller’s Reserve Maple Syrup Barrel Finish”

Back Label

“C.B. Fisher led men to battle, gambled his life savings on a gold mine, turned swampland into playgrounds, and left a mark everywhere he went. As a result; streets, neighborhoods, and city parks bear his name. The legend of his adventures gathered strangers together. Strangers became friends, friends became family, and for that we created our whiskey in his honor. Our grain to glass straight rye whiskey is handcrafted from North Carolina rye and aged in New American white oak barrel. Once matured, our barrels are hand selected by our Master Distiller to share with the world. Marrying notes of caramelized orange peels, freshly cracked black pepper, banana bread, and creamy toffee, our straight rye whiskey hopes to bring you together over your own tall tales and cocktails.”

“History made by hand by people who give a damn.”

“Distilled and bottled by Fainting Goat Spirits, Greensboro, NC”

Neck Tie

“Every year our Head Distiller selects a few barrels to hold back and experiment with, and for the first time ever, we are sharing it with the world. This year’s Distiller’s Reserve Collection is a limited release whiskey that encompasses all of the best parts of winter by taking our Fisher’s Straight Rye Whiskey and finishing it in Maple Syrup Barrels for an additional 6 months. Marrying notes of toasted brown sugar, warm mulling spices, and sweet oatmeal raisin cookies waiting for Santa to devour; you can enjoy this whiskey sitting with friends by a cozy fire, pair it with a mile high stack of buttery pancakes, or sip it in a ski lodge as you muster up the courage to hit the slopes. However you choose to enjoy it, make sure it is with the ones you love most.”

Distillery Background

Greensboro Distilling Co./Fainting Goat Spirits

Greensboro Distilling Co./Fainting Goat Spirits was founded as a family-owned, small business in December 2015, by the husband and wife team of Bill Norman and Shelley Johnson Norman. Mr. Norman, who serves as Master Distiller, previously trained at The Culinary Institute of America in French cuisine where he mastered the ability to hone his palate. Mrs. Norman brings her passion for entrepreneurship and business management to Greensboro Distilling Co. The couple is joined by their children Andrew Norman, who serves as Master Blender, and Lesly Norman Hobbs, who brings a wealth of business experience, rounding out the Greensboro Distilling Co. management team.

The idea to distill spirits was hatched when Mr. Norman went on a tour of a distillery in Seattle, Washington while on vacation. It was on this trip that Mr. Norman quickly realized that his expertise in the kitchen would make him well-suited to own and run a distillery. Upon returning home, Mr. Norman reached out to his son, Andrew, who had taken a recent interest in home brewing and liquor infusions. The father and son duo would then begin to experiment and practice distilling before finally taking the plunge and launching the distillery. The dream became reality in December 2015 when they received their Distilled Spirits Plant (DSP) authorization.

Greensboro Distilling Co. is a grain-to-glass distillery, using fresh North Carolina corn, wheat, and rye grown on a farm in nearby Marshville, North Carolina. On a typical day at the distillery one can find the Normans grinding and mashing their own grains for the fermentation process. Their hands on approach doesn’t stop there, as the Normans continue to be active in the process through distillation with their Artisan Still Design still, aging in new American Oak barrels, and bottling their products.

Greensboro Distilling Co./Fainting Goat Spirits currently produces Tiny Cat Small Batch Vodka, CB Fisher’s American Single Malt Whiskey, Emulsion New American Gin, CB Fisher’s Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon Whiskey, and CB Fisher’s Straight Rye Whiskey!

Additional information regarding the distillery and its products can be found on their website.

CB Fisher’s Straight Rye Whiskey

CB Fisher’s Straight Rye Whiskey 2021 Distiller’s Reserve Maple Syrup Barrel Finish is distilled by Greensboro Distilling Co./Fainting Goat Spirits using it traditional straight rye whiskey recipe using locally sourced grain from North Carolina. The whiskey is produced using a mash bill of 60% rye, 30% corn, and 10% two-row malted barley. It is then aged for at least 2 years in new American oak barrels that have been charred to the level of Char #4. Finally, the straight rye whiskey is finished while resting for an additional 6 months in maple syrup barrels.

Tasting Notes

Tasting Date/Vessel: May 22, 2022 – Neat in Glencairn Glass; Then with a few drops of distilled water.


Christian: Nosing CB Fisher’s Straight Rye Whiskey 2021 Distiller’s Reserve Maple Syrup Barrel Finish from the bottle elicits generous aromas of fresh long leaf tobacco, an assortment of baking spices, and abundant notes of freshly harvested oak. In my Glencairn glass, a quick first pass allows a zip of rye spice to tickle the nose. A sweetness rises from the glass that reminds me of brown sugar and vanilla extract. A gentle swirl allows a burst of maple syrup drizzled oak to really leap from the glass. In many ways, the aromas bring to mind a dark sweet molasses cookie covered in icing with just a touch of orange zest. Oh, man – if you want to really make the maple syrup erupt on the nose, then add a drop or two of distilled water to your glass! The nose opens up nicely. The aroma reminds me a bit of a maple nut candy – that gooey ball of peanut, toffee, and maple syrupy outer shell.

Mike: As I nose this straight rye from the bottle, my nostrils are filled with fresh cut oak and moist tobacco leaves. As I dive into the glass, soft notes of maple syrup drizzled over fresh cut slices of Honey-crisp apples that transition to a lightly whipped maple cream filling. A swirl of the glass releases a surge of sweet apple aromas and delicate tones of honey. As the whiskey sits and breathes, a light hint of leather is emitted. 


Christian: The mouthfeel on this whiskey is silky smooth with a fair amount of viscosity thrown in there. Right out of the gate, my palate is hit with a rush of freshly cured tobacco, a rich sugary sweetness, and oak barrel char. There are definitely notes of maple syrup present that remain very delicate and unassuming well into the pour. On my palate, this pour comes full circle with notes of well oiled leather and nice cinnamon baking spice. The addition of distilled water seems to mute the tobacco and baking spice notes while really bringing forth the oak barrel char. There is a nice sweetness present, but it is not as reminiscent of maple syrup as it is simple syrup.

Mike: This rye whiskey is exceptionally sweet upfront, becoming semi-dry as it moves from the front to back of the palate. A swell of warmth fills the back of the throat almost immediately. Fresh cured tobacco layered with maple syrup lingers mid-palate. A second pass reveals semi-sweet golden delicious apple flavors as a mellow bitterness of barrel char lingers.


Christian: This 2021 Distiller’s Reserve Maple Barrel Finish offers a bold, beautiful, medium length finish. Sweetness abounds and is joined by the dryness of black pepper and a touch of oiled leather. The notes of black pepper trend quickly to more cinnamon and sweet syrup infused with a nice twang of citrus orange zest. This pour is definitely warm with a nice punch that bubbles up deep within the chest then wells up slowly to the throat. Nice notes of tobacco, maple syrup, star anise, and pear linger long after the whiskey has been enjoyed. Water really allows the sweetness to shine in this finish. Star anise and cigar tobacco are present and joined by a trace of maple and fresh pair to that linger.

Mike: This Fisher’s Maple Barrel Finish Rye offers a medium to long finish. The heat punches first in the chest then surges into the lower throat. A hint of baking spice and black pepper delivers a subtle scratchiness to the back of the throat region with a kiss of smokiness. Remaining on the palate is a tempered suggestion of tobacco and maple syrup. Even more delayed, only noticed as I was writing my final thoughts, is another burst of honey-crisp apple.

Our Rating

Final Thoughts

Christian: Gracious, back-to-back weeks of high quality straight rye whiskies coming from North Carolina–the bar is being set unreasonably high! I was already a fan of Fainting Goat Spirits Straight Rye Whiskey, but this 2021 Distiller’s Reserve Maple Syrup Barrel Finish is absolutely delicious! The rich tobacco flavors marry beautifully with a punch of baking spice and a refreshing pinch of orange citrus. The development of the maple syrup soaked oak barrel staves and char just tease the taste buds. A balanced pour that offers flavorful complexities and a drinking experience worth enjoying. I continue to be excited to see what the Norman family has in store next! Without a doubt, I am a huge fan.

Rating: 3.85 Rickhouses

Mike: This is a stellar offering from Fainting Goat Spirits out of our backyard in Greensboro, NC. Another near perfect rye whiskey coming out of North Carolina. We have reviewed the straight rye offering from this distillery in the past and it was good, but this maple barrel finish sets the standard. This is well-balanced from nose to finish and the maple barrel cask finish offers a subdued sweetness that isn’t overpowering. At $50, the price point is exceptional for a specialty cask finished craft offering. This Fisher’s Straight Rye Maple Barrel Finished delivers at a more than fair price compared to other cask finished products from any distiller out there. In my opinion, this is the best cask finished whiskey for the price.

Rating: 4.25 Rickhouses


Leave a Reply