Saturday, March 8, 2014

Review #8 - Jefferson's 10 Year Straight Rye Whiskey



Today there are a few distilleries that are making rye whiskey although that number is increasing every year. To qualify as rye in the United States the recipe (mashbill) has to be at least 51% rye. Conversely, bourbon has to be at least 51% corn. There are even fewer distilleries that are delivering a 100% rye based whiskey.

Jeffersons is a rye that has 100% rye in its mashbill however the "distillery" does not actually distill the spirit in the bottle. They are known as an Independent Bottler or another term often used is Non Producer Distiller (NPD). The fact that they simply bottle the whiskey makes it somewhat difficult to identify who distilled the liquor as many NPDs are not forthcoming to the public as to where they have purchased the whiskey. It also makes it hard to guarantee that Jeffersons won't switch the supplier of the whiskey and thus change the flavor profile.

Because the rye whiskey is 100% rye and aged at 10 years all guesses point to Alberta distillery in Canada. Nonetheless this rye is one of a handful that are aged 10 years or more and at 100% rye mashbill meeting the American requirements and therefore makes the spirit somewhat unique compared to the other rye whiskies hitting the market today.  

PRODUCT SPECS

Whiskey Type - Rye

Alcohol By Volume (ABV) - 47%

Mashbill - 100% rye

Batch Number - 15

Bottle Number - 0171

Age - 10 Years.

NOSE
Tropical fruit
Ginger
Golden raisin

PALATE
Clove
Black pepper
Fennel anise 
Honey

FINISH
Toasted oak
Mint
Dark fudge

The finish is medium to long in length with medium legs that provide a creamy texture.

FINAL IMPRESSIONS
Jefferson's 10 Year Rye Whiskey is a great whiskey. It has a nice complexity and balance that makes it just a joy to sip and share with friends. I think it represents rye whiskey very well by not having many sweet notes that try to masquerade the spirit as a bourbon. The fact that it has a nice herbal and spicy palate makes it a great for whiskey based cocktails such as Manhattans. 

PRODUCT RATING 
3.5 out of 5. You can typically find this rye in the $40 range. I've heard some rumors that it may be losing its age statement in the future. Pick some up and try it neat or in a cocktail before it is too late. A really great rye whiskey.

RATING SYSTEM
0 - hot dog water - nothing redeeming
1 - one dimensional - not complex and can be flat in areas
2 - entry level whiskey -  a few highlights for a good value
3 - daily sipper - solid, well made product that is always enjoyed.
4 - big whiskey - complex layered flavors - amazing balance
5 - huge, exceptional, unique, one of a kind