Reviewed by Bob Montgomery
At last, I have found my rye. My desert island Manhattan is now picked out. This is the bottle I would take on a long voyage; into the space capsule; in my suspended animation chamber. Along with companion bottles of Noilly Prat Sweet Vermouth and Angostura bitters, of course.
Templeton Rye is produced by a small Iowa distiller and purports to be a Prohibition-era recipe that was the favorite of Al Capone. With such a great product and rich history, it’s surprising that we have lived so long without being able to obtain Templeton (or at least, obtain it legally) but we should be thankful that we can get it now.
The color in the bottle is a medium amber, like the color of old copper. Lighter in the glass, with a golden glow and the scent of spicy rye bread. The next time you have rye, take a moment to sniff it; the resemblance to a loaf of rye is unsurprising but still powerful.
The initial flavor is dry, bold, and spicy, transitioning to a rich, almost sour flavor, but with an undertone of sweetness. The finish is still dry and spicy and lingers just long enough to sustain you to the next sip. If you’ve become accustomed to bourbon’s sweetness, you will find the Templeton a challenging contrast.
As a cocktail base, Templeton Rye is outstanding. In an Old Fashioned the flavor is rich and dominant; in a Manhattan it is nothing short of perfection — complex yet balanced, a great reminder of why this cocktail has endured more than a century.
Buy a bottle of Templeton, stir up a Manhattan (don’t forget the bitters!), and enjoy a classic that will live forever.
Quality Grade: A
Value Grade: A
Final Grade: A