Jefferson’s 10 Yr Straight Rye

Jefferson’s 10 Year Straight Rye Whiskey

94 Proof

Batch 242, Bottle 1665

This is the first rye I’ve reviewed on here, but I’ve been saving it for y’all because it is a special one.  Bang for buck, this ties with Rittenhouse as my favorite Rye I have had the pleasure to try.  But if you have ten extra dollars to spend, please, PLEASE give Jefferson’s a shot.  I would pay Whistlepig prices for this, thankfully it’s half the cost and just as good.  Also, at 100 proof Rittenhouse really makes a much better Manhattan component than a sipper.  Given the choice I would always sip Jefferson’s first.

Before we get started, I have a confession to make…despite being named after one of our country’s founding fathers, this rye is not actually American.  WHAT?  Call the USCIS and get him out of here boys!  Ok calm down, let me explain.   Clay Risen, who wrote one of the best books in the world on the subject, American Whiskey, Bourbon, and Rye, calls this rye “a model dual-citizenship whiskey.”  Yes it is bottled and sold out of Kentucky, but the big secret is that the vast majority of 100 percent rye whiskey is being distilled and aged in that funny-talking, bear-loving, probably-more-advanced-politically-thinking country to the north–CANADA.  Oh, Canada.  Even Whistlepig and Masterson’s Rye are Canadian born, just bought, bottled, marketed, and sold at different places at different proofs.  While none of these brands discloses where they buy their product from, it is mostly likely Alberta Distillers in Calgary…you know, somewhere between Toronto and Vancouver.  Alberta Distillers have made a name for themselves producing huge quantities of quality, 100% rye whiskey, most famous for their brand Alberta Premium which I’ve yet to see in a store in the USA.

So what is this Canadian product doing being sold out of Kentucky with an American President on the bottle?  My best answer is WHO CARES.  It’s great rye, and I’m happy to have it so readily available in the States.  The truth is that there just aren’t very many distilleries here producing 100% rye whiskey yet, so until that happens we will be in debt to our brothers in the north for giving us such high quality, delicious products.

Hey can we taste it yet?  Here we go!

On the nose…dang, is someone baking rye bread in the kitchen?  Let’s put some pastrami and sauerkraut in this glass and see what happens.  Seriously, the rye on the nose is the most beautiful baked rye bread smell you will ever smell.  I’m also getting some cool scotch notes–peat and wood and apple–mixed with the spiciness and alcohol zing creeping up to my nose it all feels great.  And dang if it don’t taste better (just so you know, I was an English major in college, so I’m allowed to talk like a redneck when I want to–this is a bourbon website at heart after all).  It’s a little sweeter than it smells, and pretty aggressive for an under 100 proof product, but I think that’s a good thing in this case.  Rye and ginger spice up front moving to BAM!–raspberries (love em so much) then faint caramel and vanilla following, and finishing medium length with black pepper and more like a candied ginger.  So. Freaking. Good.

I’ve said all I need to say about this fantastic rye–just go buy some!

Rating: 9.5 / 10

I wonder if I’ll ever give anything a 10…

Bought in Asheville, NC at a stupid state-run ABC store for something like $35…I’ve had this one a while.

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