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Templeton Small Batch Rye Whiskey

Templeton Small
Batch Rye Whiskey


By Robert Plotkin

If you could use a little more romance in your life—and frankly who doesn't need a little more romance in their life—then Templeton Small Batch Rye Whiskey is just the ticket. Born in the early days of Prohibition, this All-American gem from the small town of Templeton, Iowa soon became known in closed circles as "the good stuff." It earned this lofty moniker from none other than mobster Al "Scarface" Capone, who made Templeton one of the backbones of his bootlegging syndicate. Suffice to say Capone knew great whiskey when he tasted it.

Templeton whiskey flourished illegally through Prohibition, but ceased production not long after The Repeal in 1933. Then in 2001, members of the Kerkhoff family and partners resurrected the whiskey using the original family recipe. The first bottles rolled out the door in 2006.

The venerable whiskey is now crafted (legally) from rye cultivated in fields adjacent to the company's facilities in Templeton. The harvested grain is then taken to Lawrenceburg, Indiana where it is mixed with 10% malted barley. The mash is milled, fermented and distilled in small batches. Only the heart of the distillation run is used to make the whiskey. After distillation, the unaged whiskey is transported back to Templeton, where it is transferred into new charred oak barrels and matured for a minimum of four years. It is bottled at 40% alcohol (80 proof).

Templeton Rye is an utterly superb spirit, exactly what you want from a straight rye whiskey. It has an amber/golden hue, a velvety, medium-weight body and a generous bouquet of honey, caramel, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. Its wafting aromatics smell as enticing as your neighborhood bakery. The entry is soft and gentle as it bathes the palate with a skillfully balanced array of flavors, a blend of toffee, butterscotch, vanilla, allspice, chocolate and freshly brewed coffee. The long, dry finish is spicy and brimming with character.

Templeton Rye was likely one reason Prohibition ("The Noble Experiment") failed so miserably. When you have a whiskey this irresistibly good, best of luck convincing people they're better off without it.