I always thought rye whiskey was a myth. I knew about it from “American Pie.” No, not the movie, I’m of the age where the Don McLean song was on heavy rotation on every radio station for what seemed like my entire youth. He sang of “good old boys drinking whiskey and rye.” Other than that song, I had never seen it, never seen anyone drink it, when I got of legal age I still never saw it or knew anyone who drank it. It was a mythical liquor and I was convinced that McLean made it all up.
Turns out, I wasn’t far off. Rye was the most popular whiskey in this country for years, even George Washington made the stuff at Mt. Vernon. Then along came prohibition and it went away. After the repeal of the most idiotic law ever passed, bourbon made a much stronger comeback than rye, and it was only mildly popular in the Northeast. Which is where McLean wrote his eight and a half minute opus, in Saratoga Springs, NY. So maybe he didn’t make it up after all.
The mash for Rye whiskey has to be, by law, at least 51% rye. The other ingredients are usually corn and barley. Rye’s more popular cousin, bourbon, contains at least 51% corn. Both are aged in charred oak barrels, and it’s the ingredients of the mash that makes the difference in flavor.
Along comes Prichard’s Distillery, the little Kelso, Tennessee manufacturer known for their fine craft rums and their Sweet Lucy bourbon liqueur. They recently added a bourbon styled Tennessee Whiskey, a single malt, a Double Barrelled and a White Lightning, and their Rye is just now ready to be released. I managed to get my hands on a bottle before you. So I tried it for you. That’s why I’m here, people.
Let me say this. I’m a fan. As a long-time bourbon drinker, I have found a new alternative when I want to sip on some whiskey. It’s a little spicier than a typical bourbon, extremely smooth, with just enough burn to remind you you’re drinking a fine distilled spirit. I put it in a glass, no chilling, no ice, no water, and enjoyed every last sip. Then I did it again. If you’re a whiskcy fan, give it a shot.