- 104 Proof
- 10 Years
- Barrel No. 2779
I knew it had been quite a while since I've had Templeton Rye. In fact, I had to look back at my blog archives to see when the last time was, and it was back in 2015. Without looking back at that, I couldn't have told you now whether or not I liked it (turns out I was somewhat ambivalent). I think part of the reason I haven't gone back to the Templeton products was the issue from years ago involving their adding a flavoring to their whiskey. That kind of stuff turns me off, and, whether consciously or subconsciously, I'm sure is part of the reason I haven't given it another go.
But then there came the promise of a higher proof, 10 year, single barrel MGP rye packaged under the Templeton label, and that was enough to get me to try it again. I've certainly seen lesser-aged MGP ryes command much higher prices, so for $80, this one seemed fairly reasonable.
The nose was actually softer than what I expected. Given the proof, the age and the provenance, I expected something punch and full of spice. This, however, leaned more towards notes of sweet wheat bread and honey. It did have a decent amount of wood notes to it, even getting a bit tannic. The one bright spot, though, was the delicious blackberry jam note that seemed to work really well with the honey and bread notes.
Surprisingly, though, the flavor was much more in line with my expectations. Right up front I got bold notes of pine and cinnamon, with a strong vanilla undercurrent. In fact, that vanilla was more than I've ever noticed in an MGP rye before, dominating the stage right up front all the way through the finish. It wasn't a sweet vanilla, but rather more of a natural vanilla extract note.
I did get some spearmint and even a bit of black pepper spice. I think it's these flavors, mixed with the strong vanilla note, that reminded me at times of a root beer float. It just had that mix of vanilla and spices. In fact, the spearmint note seemed to get more and more prominent as I made my way through this bottle.
The finish is where the spice in this rye really came through. I certainly got that same black pepper that I was getting up front, but I was also getting something hot. It was almost like a cayenne pepper type spice. There was some cinnamon and even a little bit of nutmeg sprinkled in.
With that punch on the finish, though, I came to the conclusion that this was one of the spicier whiskeys I've had in a long time, and I found myself reaching for this bottle in particular to scratch that itch when I got it. It wasn't my favorite rye of all time by any stretch, but it certainly fit a certain mood that I find myself in from time to time, and for that reason alone it was worth having on my shelf.