By S.D. Peters
Founder’s Rye Whiskey is the latest release from Standfordville, New York’s Millbrook Distillery. Launched in 2013 by founders Paul Coughlin and Gerry Valenti, Millbrook Distillery kicked-off its line of spirits with a Straight Bourbon named after Dutchess County, in which Standfordville resides. Dutchess Private Reserve 2013 was followed by a Limited Edition Barrel Strength Bourbon. Having produced two well-received Bourbons, Millbrook’s decision to introduce an expression of America’s oldest whiskey, Rye, holds a lot of promise.
Founder’s Rye’s spirit was sourced, but unlike their past releases, it was aged by Millbrook on their property in their own wood. The time it’s spent aging in virgin American white oak barrels has lent it a rich salted caramel hue that belies its youth.
That youth is, however, detectable in the essence of banana that dominates the nose. The edges are dusted with a peppery praline sweetness, and a dash of snickerdoodle.
Where other young ryes are redolent of dried banana, Founder’s Rye presents an uncharacteristic twist: banana pudding. One might therefore expect a particular smoothness to this 90 Proof rye. It doesn’t disappoint. An undercurrent of woodiness and spice gets under the tongue and tends to command the flavor, but it’s the rye’s mild sweetness, like summer fruit just before full ripeness, that glides it along.
The finish is clean and even smoother, as fresh bananas and watermelon sourballs linger into a mild, mellow finish. This is a fine sipping Rye, and a wonderful addition to the expanding variety of young Rye whiskeys coming from America’s small, independent distillers.
Founder’s Rye Whiskey is not widely distributed, but if you come across a bottle, expect to pay about $40.