Normally this is where I would give a little back story on the brand and talk about any unique aspects or little nuggets of trivia about the brand, but since we now know that the story Templeton Rye has been trying to sell us is complete bullshit there’s really no point. Instead, as the above picture would imply, I’m going to use this section to hop up on a little soap box and do a wee bit of venting.
Since day one Templeton has lied about where its product came from and now they are even getting sued over it. I’ve already covered whiskey NDPs and how I feel about them so no sense in doing that again. Instead, let’s talk about why Templeton Rye has received the first 00 in The Whiskey Jug history. I’ll give you hint… It all has to do with the recent admission of them adding a flavoring to their whiskey.
Yes you read that right, this is actually a flavored whiskey. I don’t cover flavored whiskey here on the Jug for a reason. Not because it isn’t possible for them to taste alright, but because I’d be reviewing nothing more than the ability of some guy in a lab to create a flavor and the ability of the producer to pour it into vats of whiskey and bottle it. Which is exactly what Templeton does. They take the stock 95% rye whiskey from MGP up to their BOTTLING PLANT in Templeton, IA where they dump the barrels, mix in the flavoring and then bottle it. The only skill and craft on their part in this whole process has been in creating the web of lies that surround the brand.
Look at the label. It says that it’s made from a “Prohibition Era Recipe”, but Clarendon (the chemical company creating the flavoring) was founded about 60 years after prohibition ended. So how the famous Templeton bootleggers they espouse would have gotten their hands on those flavoring chemicals to add to their whiskey is beyond me. Because, if you add it to the liquid IT’S PART OF THE RECIPE. I can’t add chocolate chips to my Grandma’s snickerdoodle recipe and say that I made Grandma’s snickerdoodles… it doesn’t work that way. I made Grandma’s snickerdoodles with added chocolate chips.
If you want video proof of their willful deceit take a look at Templeton’s own Chief Bullshit Artist Keith Kerkoff in a recent interview where he admits that he couldn’t call his Grandfather’s whiskey a rye whiskey “simply because of what was uh in the recipe”. He goes on to say how they went out and found rye (obviously not proprietary if they find it) and then added flavor to it to get it to taste like his grandpa’s whiskey.
He then goes on to say “With the heritage and the history of Templeton rye we wanted to keep the Templeton Rye name”… seriously? In 10 seconds he admits that the whole story is bullshit, that they’re not actually using the prohibition recipe they claim they are and that he’s just exploiting the history of the town by using its name. Now compare that to story on their bottles and site and there is a night and day difference. Yet he still claims that he’s never misled anyone and that the big bad Chicago Lawyers are the bad guys here.
The bottom line to me is that he’s a liar and his product can’t properly be evaluated because he adds flavoring so you don’t know which flavors and aromas you should be attributing to MGP and which ones you should be attributing to Clarendon. Either way, exactly none of the tasting notes below should be attributed to Mr. Kerkoff and his not-so-prohibition-era “recipe”.
Templeton Rye Review
Age: 4ish years
Mashbill: 95% rye 5% barley
Spiced orange candy, dill, rye spice, clove, some earthy underpinnings, a bit of wood and a spice that reminds me Moroccan food. I can’t pin down exactly which spices it’s reminding me of, but that could have been the chemist’s or Kerkhoff’s intent all along… who knows.
Ambiguous sweetness, rye spice, dill, gummy orange slices candy, cinnamon, clove, touch of wood and raw grains. The dill in both the nose and the palate remind me of other MGP 95% rye whiskies like Bulleit rye, Dickel rye and some of the Willet rye releases which makes sense. Though I honestly don’t know what flavors come from the whiskey and which come from the added flavoring. There’s no way of knowing.
Medium in length with notes of clove, cinnamon, dill, anise, wood, and rye which pops a bit as it fades out, or maybe that’s the flavoring chemicals popping on my tongue. Your guess is as good as mine.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
The overzealous spice shifts it a bit off balanced. It has more bite that an 80 proof should have and the medium body doesn’t really do much for it one way or the other. It’s drinkable neat, but the heavy spices and aggressive texture works better in cocktails.
To state it again, the reason Templeton scored a big fat 00 is because of their use of flavoring. If I were To assign a score it would be an 81, but that number wouldn’t have any bearing at all on the distiller and if they did a great job of managing their ingredients, the distillation process, barrel program, etc. It would be saying the folks down at Clarendon Flavor Engineering created a flavor that scored an 81.
First these jerks lie through their teeth about where the whiskey comes from, then they reveal that what you’re tasting isn’t even the whiskey at all but an artificial flavor slurry they add to the whiskey before bottling it. The prohibition roots of this whiskey? A lie. The flavor and aroma of their whiskey? A lie. Me ever trusting them, even if they make massive changes to what they do and how they produce their product? Not fucking likely.