TASTING … McKenzie Rye Whiskey

27 Aug

[Photo by Bill Dowd]

• Put two unrelated guys together who share not only a surname but a love of spirits and the result is Finger Lakes Distilling, a craft distillery in the heart of New York’s major Upstate wine country. The partners are Brian McKenzie and Earl McKenzie, and they produce a line of spirits that includes, rye, bourbon, gin, vodka and liquers.


This golden amber rye, bottled at 45.5% alcohol by volume (91 proof), is on the market at a good time. Nationwide, the rye resurgence continues unabated in America.

The rye’s color is an eyecatcher, as is the squat bottle reminscent of what once was the standard shaped bottle for this most American of spirits.

As a New York State Farm Distillery, Finger Lakes uses locally-grown grains. This non-chill-filtered spirit is made from a mash of rye, corn and barley malt. It is aged in new charred quarter-cask oak and given a finish in sherry barrels from local wineries.

Once inside, the attraction grows. This rye is immediately assertive on the palate, offering a bite of clove smoothed with notes of caramel and clover. Hints of orange peel, mint and cardamom come through, with a buttery finish.

This is an excellent example of the craft distiller’s art, particularly interesting since it comes from a comparatively new enterprise.

Suggested retail price: $40 for the 750ml bottle.

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Posted by on August 27, 2010 in Tasting Notes, Whiskey


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