Part of my celebration of America’s Independence Day included a new rye from an American distiller out of Kansas. What better way to close out the sun and fun filled holiday weekend than a made in the U.S.A rye whiskey.
Union Horse Distilling was initially launched as Dark Horse Distilling in 2010 but was forced to change their name due to a trademark dispute between the distillery and the E&J Gallo Winery. Since the name change, the distillery, located in Lenexa, Kansas has released both Reunion Straight Rye as well as Reserve Straight Bourbon in addition to their unaged Long Shot White Whiskey and Rider Vodka.
With a focus on locally sourced grain and a family owned business, Union Horse has held faithful to the spirit of a family owned American small business.
Reunion Straight Rye is a handcrafted small batch 100% rye distilled using Union Horse’s sour mash recipe and is listed as having been aged up to 5 years, representing some of the earliest barrels laid down by the distillery, although no age statement is available on the bottle.
Union Horse Distilling products are available in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and online.
Name: Union Horse Distilling Company Reunion Straight Rye Whiskey
Proof: 93 proof / 43.5% ABV
Age: NAS – No Age Statement
How I Drank It: Neat, in a Glencairn Whiskey Glass
Nose: Oak | Nutmeg | Toffee
Taste: Black Cherry | Big Red Chewing Gum | Maple Syrup
The Burn: This whiskey has very little burn on the way down due to the maple syrup sweetness that lasts and lasts. The flavor on this one is full of rich cherry and oak that lingers long after the last sip. The sensation in the mouth is more akin to finishing a chocolate covered cherry than swallowing a shot of whiskey.
Neat, Splash or Rocks: The velvety smooth mouthfeel is best served without water or ice, however adding some ice chills the whiskey into a refreshing drink on a hot summer day.
Share With: This is an excellent whiskey that, if you can find it, is delicious, easy drinking and full of rich flavor and a palate coating mouthfeel that extends the experience long after the sip is gone. Break this one out after a successful barbecue with great family and friends as you enjoy a summer’s evening.
Worth the Price: Craft distilling in America is still growing at an amazing rate and with any rapid growth there pains associated along with it. Two of those pains tends to be a high price point and no brand recognition in the market. The consumer who comes across a new bottle on the shelf has to face the prospect of a weak, uninspired product from a new producer still green behind the ears just as readily as they may discover their new favorite whiskey. Fortunately, in this case you can avoid both of those issues. This bottle clocks in at just over $50, depending on retailer, and Union Horse has produced a product that justifies the price. This whiskey is rich and flavorful as well as a step outside the usual big names in the industry. For an early foray into aged spirits for a six year old distiller, this one is definitely worth its price.
Bottom Line: This rye is worth buying a bottle, this is a delicious whiskey that has a rich nose and fulfilling mouthfeel with no shortage of flavor. The sweetness of this whiskey may be too much for some people, and doesn’t express much of the traditional rye spice that you may come to expect. But if you are looking for a delicious bottle from an American craft distiller, this one should be at the top of your list. Consider it your patriotic duty.
Disclaimer: Special thanks to Union Horse Distilling Company for providing Bourbon & Banter with a sample of their whiskey. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their product with no strings attached.