By Debbie Shocair
In all honesty, one of the things I have always loved about Templeton Rye is that it smells straight-up like bananas, and that note is a really fun way to introduce it to, well, pretty much anyone. So, imagine the intrigue when I was privileged to sample their 10-year Special Reserve Rye. As a strictly limited release of 6,080 bottles, hand numbered and in special packaging, and coming right on the heels of Templeton’s announcement of plans to open a functional distillery on their existing site in Templeton, Iowa, I was expecting something lovely.
On the nose, Templeton’s 10-year still had the strong notes of banana, but it was tempered with caramel, almost, as I considered it, like flambe. There were also some deep, subtle hints of maple.
Breaking the rye whiskey with a ½ teaspoon of water brought out something I could only describe as “sweet pie crust baking in the oven.” Yes. I have an imagination. But I’m right. The banana, here, took a backseat to the pie crust aroma.
The mouthfeel was a sweet (pun intended) caress over the whole of the tongue, though it was concentrated mostly on the top. For a whiskey bottled at 101 proof, it was a lovely gentle caress and not a burn – a quality I enjoy in any higher-proof bottling.
The finish was not as long as I had expected, sort of medium-ish, but was bold and unique, beginning with a spicy punch that led to cinnamon and then creaminess before ending with huge notes of vanilla.
The Templeton 10 Year Old is delicious. If you are a fan of Templeton or a collector of interesting and limited releases of any sort, I recommend this 10-year Special Reserve.
The downside is that Templeton 10 Year Old retails at around $150, so it’s pricey.