Saturday, September 19, 2015

Templeton Small Batch Rye Whiskey

- $30
- 80 Proof

We planned a backyard fire the other day, s'mores, hot dogs, the whole bit. And as with every other time, just the thought of cooking over the fire had me wanting a glass of rye. I don't know what it is, but for me the two frequently go hand-in-hand.

I picked up a bottle of Templeton rye knowing, just from word of mouth, that I was getting, at the very least, a solid rye whiskey. I also knew that it was coming from just across the Mississippi River in Iowa, and I'm always happy to give a local distillery a try (although this whiskey was distilled by MGP in Indiana). Templeton advertises this as a "prohibition era recipe." I'm not sure what makes it different from other rye recipes, and it may just be a marketing gimmick, but it sounds nice and adds an appealing, old-timey label.

As with any rye, Templeton provided heavy spice both in the nose and on the front end, hitting the tip of my tongue. It was a slightly different spice, however. It was like a spicy burnt orange flavor, followed by a light smokiness that I really liked.

It otherwise had the standard rye flavors and spices that I've come to expect, with notes of cloves and vanilla and a mild hint of cherry.

The body was on a bit of the watery side. I tend to like my ryes a bit more viscous, but that's merely a personal preference. Otherwise, this whiskey stands up very well against the other readily available ryes that are on the shelves.

Although nothing in particular stands out (though I really am a fan of that smokey orange flavor), this is nonetheless a rye that will not let you down. The next time I plan a backyard fire or a camping trip, I won't hesitate to grab another bottle of Templeton (then again, maybe I will, as discussed in the comments below).

Grade: B


  1. Thought you might find interesting (rumor has it you may also have a law hobby) that Templeton Rye was sued over the "prohibition era recipe" and "made in Iowa" claims, when it admitted that it combines stock 95% rye whiskey from MGP (Indiana) with a flavor mix produced by Clarendon Flavor Engineering in its bottling plant in Templeton, IA. (I enjoyed a glass of it last night at a concert and then thought I'd check your blog for a review).

  2. I did hear about that, though mostly as an aside in the stories covering the Tito's Handmade Vodka suit. I hadn't read the article, so thanks for the link. Apparently my bottle was after they "voluntarily" changed the bottle to indicate that it was distilled by MGP. I was apparently just late to the game on the additive, though, which irks me far more than the misleading information about the recipe or the source. That alone causes me to want to change the last sentence of this blog post.

    p.s. Thanks for bringing me back to an old post, where I immediately cringed at the sight of a typo that's been sitting here for a year now!