The Finger Lakes Distillery in Burdett, New York makes McKenzie Rye. This particular bottle is a single barrel private selection from Seelbach’s spirits sales. I have always liked the products made at Finger Lakes Distilling. I was lucky enough to taste some of their new make rye spirit soon after they started distilling. What I remember most was the new make had a definite orange blossom honey flavor. Tom McKenzie (no relation to the founders of the distillery) was their distiller at the time and he told me that flavor came from the heirloom variety of rye they were using. This rye was grown by a farmer near the distillery. I think this bottle came from some of the rye whiskey made from this heirloom variety rye.
The label has some great information for the consumer. This whiskey has a mash bill of 80% rye and 20% barley malt. It is bottled at barrel proof of 101.8 proof at 4.5 years old. Matt and I decided to taste this whiskey and we were glad we did.
McKenzie Single Barrel Rye
Age: 4.5 Years Old
- Mike: Lots of rye grassiness, orange blossom honey, leather or pipe tobacco and a hint of oak.
- Matt: Rye grass, honey and tobacco.
- Mike: Rye grass, citrus –orange and lemon zest, hazelnuts, fine leather and sweet oak wood. Tasted with a dried cranberry and honey comes forward to join the other flavors. Tasted with a pecan and notes of chocolate and honey come out to join the party of citrus, rye grass and sweet oak.
- Matt: Rye grass, citrus and rhubarb with some hazelnut, leather and sweet oak. The dried cranberry brought out notes of honey, lemon drop candy and sorghum. The pecan brought out notes of chocolate, honey and plums.
- Mike: Long with notes of fine leather, sweet oak and cinnamon. With the dried cranberry, the cinnamon spice becomes a cardamom spice. The pecan makes the finish sweeter with notes of chocolate, pipe tobacco and sweet oak.
- Matt: Medium long with notes of leather and a hint of oak wood. The dried cranberry shortened the finish and made it leather and tobacco with a hint of cardamom. The pecan made the finish sweet with chocolate and tobacco.
I would pair this rye whiskey with a cigar rich in caramel and spice notes in the smoke. I would try it with a Padron Serie 1964 maduro cigar with its rich caramel and a hint of chocolate with a little cedar spice.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller