I have been waiting for two years for this release of Kentucky Peerless Straight Rye Whiskey. At Kentucky Peerless Distillery they have been doing a lot of things right with their whiskey. They have excellent control of their fermentation and excel at keeping the fermenters clean between batches and this allows them to make nothing but sweet mash whiskey – both Rye and Bourbon. They have a low barrel entry proof of 107 and use barrels from smaller cooperages made to their specifications. These factors and more allow them to release a straight rye whiskey at the age of two years old that is in my opinion better than many three or four times that age.
They have a small bottling facility and batch six barrels at a time for bottling. They have released this rye at barrel proof and there is a small variation in the proof of each batch. According to Caleb Kilburn, their Head Distiller, this led to three major flavor profiles in the batches. One profile is fruit forward, the next is very tobacco forward and the last expresses baking spice and molasses. I have two bottles from different batches and with different proofs to taste today.
Kentucky Peerless Straight Rye Bottle #1
Nose: caramel and vanilla with some sweet pitted fruit – cherries and dates, with a hint of baking spice.
Taste: Vanilla and berries / cherries with a little oak dryness and baking spice. Also tasting a dried cranberry brings out the vanilla and takes out the tannins making it a very fruity sweet drink. A pecan brings back the tannins and a very nice citrus flavor.
Finish: A nice spice on the sides of the tongue with a bit of dry oak. The dried cranberry makes it a little sweeter in the finish and the pecan makes the finish very long with a nice oak dryness.
Kentucky Peerless Straight Rye Bottle #2
Nose: Tobacco and honey with a hint of baking spices.
Taste: Tobacco and caramel with a hint of berries and baking spices. Also tasting a dried cranberry brings out the caramel and even a hint of chocolate. A pecan brings forward the tobacco but with a hint of citrus and spice.
Finish: Dry with oak tannins and a hint of pepper. The dried cranberry made the finish less dry and spicy with caramel sweetness. The pecan made the finish long, dry and spicy with pepper and cinnamon.
These ryes exhibit two very different flavor profiles. Both were flavorful beyond their age. I have had both with cigars and enjoyed the pairings. The Nat Sherman Schrader with the 107.4 and a My Father El Centurian with the 107.6. Both were excellent experiences.