I was more than a little bit excited when I heard that the Prichard’s distillery was working on a rye whiskey for its portfolio. As a fan of rye as well as of Prichard’s, I thought the two were made for each other. Rye can be a tricky endeavor, however, and a lot of other micro-distillers have rushed products to market that just weren’t ready for the bottle. I hoped that the good folks down in Kelso would be wise enough to take their time and actually bottle up a rye worth drinking. After jumping at the chance to put the Prichard’s Rye on the Seven Saints bar, I am pleased to report that all my hopes have been realized. This is a quality rye!
Straight out of the bottle, a pleasant aroma of field apples and light cinnamon spice approaches the nose without overpowering it. The flavors of rich rye grains and an apple character reminiscent of calvados emerge initially, but the long finish develops into a sustained oaky vanilla experience. I am normally a fan of water and whiskey relations, but this Prichard’s Rye is rounded enough to drink neat, and I encourage you to enjoy it that way. At 86 proof it won’t knock your socks off.
Rye whiskeys fall into two unique flavor profiles in my book. There are what I call the “bright” rye whiskeys as well as what I call the “pickle juice” ryes. These two categories are completely subjective, but I find them useful tools to employ in a discussion of rye. In the process of distilling the rye grain, some distillers unleash a bitter acidity that I find distinctive. At times it’s a pleasant tang and at other times it morphs into an aggressive pickle juice funk. The next time you are in front of a bottle of Templeton Rye, close your eyes and give it a whiff…it’s pure pickle juice on the nose. Other distillers, however, are able to conjure the brighter side of rye. These “bright ryes” are in my opinion more complex and exhibit a more charismatic flavor profile. Prichard’s Rye is one such “bright rye” worth investigating.
Prichard’s Rye occupies a very valuable piece of real estate in the Prichard’s portfolio. It joins other winners like the Double Barrel, the Tennessee Whiskey, and the Single Malt in this prestigious lineup. The guys down in Kelso got it right once again…and we can’t wait to share their success with you here at Seven Saints!