Posted by: Matt Browner Hamlin | January 8, 2010

On Templeton Rye

The KC Free Press has a pretty good write-up and review of Templeton Rye. Templeton is a prohibition-era rye recipe from Iowa. It’s being made again, though only in small batches and it’s only available in Iowa and Illinois.

It was actually one of the first rye whiskeys I really got into drinking, back in my days on the campaign trail in Iowa. I’ve only had it a couple times since early 2008 and have a few friends who will remain nameless who’ve repeatedly failed to procure any Templeton for me when they come to visit.

Here are the description and tasting notes from the article by Craig Davis:

The mash bill consists of at least 51% rye, and Templeton ages their whiskey a minimum of four years in new, charred-oak barrels. The assertive grain and the age combine for a big, complex whiskey, served young enough to clean up its messy mouth feel with a bright burn. Like Carroll County itself, Templeton Rye is a wide, open whiskey, with a patchwork of distinct flavors and aromas that shuffle past like rows of corn from a car window — each one distinct, lined up straight and deep. In the glass it is a supple russet, the color of the late afternoon in fall.

With a leathery and slightly sour nose touched by hardy notes of citrus and a little duskiness, it is a fascinating glass. Its mouth feel is textured to the point of being chewy, but its flavor is lively and broad as a barn dance. The rye itself — so often described as spicy — is here something more like wild. The other grains in the mash bill are quiet, supple and expansive on the tongue, but the rye dominates. The finish is crisp, shortish and closes with a distinct suggestion of pickle. This whiskey is as distinct from bland Canadian ryes as it is from corn-based Bourbon or old-world barley whiskeys. From the heart of the corn-belt, this distillery reminds the drinker why rye was the grain of choice in pre-prohibition America whiskey: it can be bold and smooth at the same time.

It really is good stuff, if you can get your hands on it.



  1. […] My friend and DC cocktail blogger Matt Browner-Hamlin offers a recommendation of Templeton Rye. […]

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