- DISTILLER: Frey Ranch Distillery
- MASH BILL: 100% Winter Rye
- AGE: At least five years old, Bottled-In-Bond
- YEAR: 2023
- PROOF: 100 (50% ABV)
- MSRP: $62.99
- BUY ONLINE: Shop Frey Ranch
SHARE WITH: Any whiskey lover, but especially rye lovers looking for something without the usual (but always welcome) mint and dill notes.
WORTH THE PRICE: Yes.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Bottle
OVERALL: There's always a lot to like about ground-to-glass estate stories like Frey Ranch Distillery's. Fifth-generation farmers Colby and Ashley Frey grow, distill and bottle the grains on their 1,500-acre Fallon, Nevada, ranch. They call themselves "whiskey farmers," which is admittedly charming.
Situated in lowlands outside of Reno, the land is ideal for agriculture, particularly cereal grains. Still, it's almost 4,000 feet above sea level, an altitude at which grain gets an intense dose of UV rays. Farmers working such lands believe that exposure stresses grain in ways that grain planted in lower altitudes isn't. At night, those highlands fields cool off quickly in the dry air, which is easier on plants, they say, than the dense summer evening humidity of Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. Bottom line: Grain from such areas tastes appreciably different, especially in whiskeys like this one.
The nose is grain and barrel forward; the former light, citrusy, spicy and a little candied; the latter toasted and lightly charred with some smoldering campfire. It's really pleasant to sniff and suss out new aromas in this ... like cocoa powder, Fig Newton cookies and wildflowers. Mute the TV or go to a quiet place to give it the focus it deserves.
The palate isn't overly complex, but that's not a criticism. It's a little syrupy, modestly sweet but with grain notes on the heels of it all. Close your mouth and exhale through your nose and the ground rye really comes to life. If there were ever such a thing as rye pastry, this is surely how it would taste. White pepper and a little cardamom comingle with vanilla pudding in the long, warm and delicate finish. It drinks so much softer than a lot of bottled-in-bond whiskeys ... dare I call it sophisticated? Not a coarse note to be found anywhere. It's also handy in a Sazerac cocktail.
Frey Ranch Bottled-In-Bond Straight Rye Whiskey is made with 100% Winter Cereal Rye, aged for a minimum of five years and bottled at 100 proof. This whiskey is smooth enough to sip, yet spicy enough to shine in a cocktail. Frey Ranch Straight Rye Whiskey is recognized with a Double Gold medal from the San Francisco World Spirit Competition, which is a true recognition of the high-quality Rye grown right here on the Frey Ranch.
Disclaimer: Bourbon & Banter received a sample of this product from the brand for review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.