Whiskey Review: Templeton Rye Whiskey

Templeton Templeton Rye
Small Batch Rye Whiskey
Final Grade: A
Price: $40 (750ml)

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.

Report Card

Quality Grade: A
Value Grade: A
Final Grade: A

2 thoughts on “Whiskey Review: Templeton Rye Whiskey

  1. Even though I’m 56, I’m just now learning–through my own home “course” consisting of blogs like this, several good books, lots of fun at the stores, and a new cocktail every night when my husband comes home–to drink. The Templeton Rye Manhattan I made only a week or two into the “schedule” shot to the top of the list as my favorite drink, and has stayed there, so far (a true Dark and Stormy comes in second, so far). I’m lucky in that I live right here in Iowa, and there’s plenty of Templeton’s to be found on all shelves…I hear it’s often hard to track down elsewhere.

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