Review: Templeton Rye Barrel Strength 2020
For three years running now, the folks at Iowa’s Templeton have released a barrel-proof expression of their well-known rye, a sourced whiskey from MGP made with its trademark 95% rye and 5% malted barley mash. This is our first encounter with the release, though you can probably find 2018 and 2019 expressions lingering here and there on the market.
It’s bottled with no age statement — but does the fact that it hits the bottle uncut make up for that? Let’s find out.
The nose is aggressive and intense, not just because it’s overbearing with wood but thanks to a hefty dose of maple syrup and baking spice. The char however is hard to cut through, even with time (and water), setting you up for a significantly savory experience.
The palate surprises with a strongly herbal and rather green complexion, giving the whiskey a certain gritty character that never really lightens up. Water is of some help, and don’t be shy with it, though as with many immature, cask strength spirits, the main impact is one of simple dilution rather than enhancement of flavor. The finish — with water or without — keep the pedal down on the barrel char element, though it fades out with a sort of chewy, drying, and tannic red wine note.
Ultimately, fans of MGP’s 95% ryes will likely find this to be a somewhat odd outlier.