Sunday, November 13, 2016

Templeton Rye Special Reserve 10th Anniversary Rye Whiskey

I tweeted out recently that I had made the biggest bottle purchase splurge of my life when I picked up this 10th Anniversary Templeton Rye. A reply to the tweet suggested that I review it. As you can see, this blog is basically entirely devoted to beer. But, as this will be a hard bottle for people to try due to its limited availability, and because so many great craft beers are aged in TR barrels, I thought I would take the suggestion. This is my amateur attempt at a whiskey review. I refer you to the TR website linked above for their backstory, but I have enjoyed their rye since their very first release, which was part of what compelled me to get this bottle.  It was one of only two for sale at my local liquor store. In talking to staff one day about whether they would get any of the 10 year release, I found out their bottles were expected in the next day. I was luckily able to stop in around the time of their expected arrival and get one.

The whiskey has a clear, bright, yet deep copper color. The aroma is intense, but pleasant; toasted oak, dark caramel, dark cherries, vanilla. The aromas hang together in a very cogent whole. The taste is deep, rich, with a touch of implied smokiness (this isn't a peat smoked Scotch after all), but with an intense fruitiness, mostly dark cherry, along with caramels, and some vanilla. To the extent there is oak in the flavor, it is toasted and aged, not at all astringent or tangy like fresh oak. There is also an intense spicy note, that comes through even more in the aftertaste than in the original taste. It is very, very warming, but it is over 100 proof.
Due to the high proof, I decided to add a little water and see if it made any changes. Doing so leaves the aroma intact, just not quite as hotly intense. It also leaves the flavors intact, just dialing down the heat a notch, letting them all shine and unify into an intensely pleasurable whole. With the heat dialed down, an element of liquid honey is felt in the mouth.

Wow. The aroma to this is brilliant. The first taste is as akin to a fine single malt Scotch as any rye I have ever had. The flavors are terrific, and while the proof is high, a splash of water allows everything to merge together in something that approaches perfection, perhaps as close as we are allowed in our earthly coil.

I got the lidded whiskey nosing glasses in a promotion from Glenmorangie 24 years ago when I was in Scotland. I figured I would use my fanciest glassware for the "fanciest" bottle I ever bought.

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