By Richard Thomas
Bluebird Distilling is found in Phoenixville, Pennsylvanis, due northwest of Valley Forge National Historic Park. The founder, Jared Adkins, has a story familiar to anyone who knows the people who start craft breweries and distilleries: he ditched his white collar job to start his own booze-making business.
Their Rye whiskey isn’t quite in the Pennsylvania style, being a 100% rye rather than a mix of rye and malted rye. It’s bottled at 92 proof (46% ABV), and I got to try some from Batch 6. That Bluebird began production in 2015 and that it’s not a straight whiskey strongly suggests it is less than two years old.
In the glass, the Bluebird Rye has a middling amber appearance, being coppery with minor brown highlights darkening things up. The swish and coat drops skinny legs.
The nose is simple and straightforward: pumpernickel rye spices meets fig newton sweetness. Onto the sip: the silky texture of the liquid belies a very slight astringency on the backside of the flavor, but leaving this aspect aside its doubling down on the nose: rye spice meets fig newtons. The finish turns over to a light pinch of raw ginger, and fades on a just as light sense of warmth.
There is nothing complex here. Instead, what Bluebird presents is a mid-bodied, flavorful and yummy Rye, perfect for easy drinking. I intend to keep it in mind the next time I discuss starter Ryes, and believe my bottle will likely disappear before the summer is out, since I think it will do very well as a straight forward, on the rocks Rye whiskey.
Alas, like many craft whiskeys, this one isn’t cheap and I’ve seen it listed online at $50.