Of all the different different brands we have covered here, I’d have to say that this one has one of the more unique back stories. Normally we’d jump right in but you need to know where this whiskey comes from to truly appreciate where it is today. Once again I’ve enlisted Neighbor Nick to be my taster so I’ll spend my time here introducing you to Templeton Rye.
As with many other US towns in 1920, the enactment of Prohibition forced the drinking population to find alternate sources for their desired libation. The residents of Templeton, Iowa were one such group. Whiskey was the drink of choice and what they produced went on to be the stuff of legend.
Not that the town residents needed any additional notoriety, they were producing an amazing product that was selling for about $5 a gallon (around $70 today) but they caught the attention of fairly ruthless bootlegger by the name of Al Capone. Rumor has it that Capone took quite a liking to TR and made it the centerpiece of his empire with distribution to many surrounding states. With that sort of backing, it was no surprise that the town became a frequent destination for federal agents looking to shut down production. At times there were up to three trucks a day leaving the town headed for the big city…all filled with “the good stuff”.
1933 saw the repeal of Prohibition and the need for this sort of whiskey slowly faded as it was now legally possible to buy it anywhere. Lucky for us, a man named Meryl Kerkhoff held onto his father Alphonse’s recipe and in 2001 was approached with a proposition to bring Templeton Rye back to life. Obviously this was a closely guarded family secret but after a little prodding he was convinced to share the hand written recipe and TR was reborn as a legally produced rye whiskey.
The smell is very spicy and grassy with a golden amber appearance. It is very smooth and clearly strong from the first taste. The flavor is a mix of caramel and butterscotch with a hint of pepper. It is a very dominant whiskey but has a really pleasant texture. If you want something that is going to linger long and warmly, you’ve found it. It certainly is one you’ll sip thinking about the speakeasy’s of the past and how this once outlawed drink is keeping you nice and toasty. This is a very well balanced whiskey that we highly recommend if you can find it.
Last year for the season premiere of Boardwalk Empire we shared a few signature Templeton Rye cocktails, you can check them out here. I’d also strongly suggest you check out their website, it’s full of additional stories and videos from the brand and the town.
Here is the handwritten batch info from my bottle: