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Posts Tagged ‘whiskey tasting’

I’m interrupting my regularly scheduled programming on wine and food to bring you this message on whiskey and whiskey.  Because people ask me about that too.

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For those that have traveled in or around Iowa (Why? I don’t know) in the recent decade and enjoy drinking whiskey, you may have heard of Templeton Rye.  The town of Templeton, located in Central Western Iowa apparently got tired of those boring cash crops and decided to make some whiskey based on so much rye.  Naturally this was back in the Prohibition days and reputedly was the favorite brown drink of Al Capone.  Then again, I could be Al Capone for all the internet knows.  Regardless, the common consensus is that it is a tasty rye whiskey.

However, a few years ago, the folks at TR had a bit of a [good] problem on their hands.  The stuff would fly off the few shelves it was stocked on in Iowa the second they were stocked.  And of course, you don’t deny someone their whiskey needs.  It’s un-American.  Therefore, TR, a bit strapped on space, resources, and most likely general know-how on how to massively scale up their production decided to outsource it to Chicago (Most likely because Al Capone once hung out there too).   Therein lies the rub for a lot of TR fans.  Now, it’s pretty much everywhere.  No longer is it cool to say you picked up a bottle of TR.

There’s just one little catch.  The distillery in Templeton is still producing* their original recipe in their original way, while the folks in Chicago are using the original recipe in some way that makes more whiskey.  No need to get technical about that one since you’re probably having a glass of TR right now.  Therefore, you can still be cool if you pick up one of the bottles that is actually bottled in Templeton.  But those still go fast.  Tell me how I’m supposed to know which bottle is which, Aaron!!!!  Turn the bottle around.

Handwriting means it was handcrafted.  Everything else is made by hand-less workers.

Handwriting means it was handcrafted. Everything else is made by hand-less workers.

The question is, do they taste different?  Well of course I’m going to answer that question for you.  I spent nearly an hour figuring it out because I care.  Obviously, it wasn’t a blind tasting, because I had no one around to pour it for me this afternoon and my pet monkey is much too lazy, but I can guarantee my professionalism during the experiment (not the monkey’s). As seen in the above picture, the glass to my left held the rye bottled in Templeton which was procured for me by a dear friend that has been wrestling other whiskey-fueled patrons to get “The Good Stuff” annually for the past few years to give to me on my birthday; the right was the outsourced bottle.  The difference between the two after much considerable attention to the matter was absolutely nothing.  Appearance, nose, palate; all the same.  Admittedly, the Chicago bred version had just a twinge more bite to it to begin, but that was most likely because I had just uncorked the bottle whereas the other had been opened previously.  The bite will mostly likely diminish slightly in the future as it is wont to do.

In concluding remarks, I should impress upon you that if you are merely interested in trying TR, either option should do just fine.  However, if you would like your friends to talk about how “In-the-Know” you are behind your back, go with the bottle that has the handwriting on it.  I personally just like the added detail of information displaying batch/barrel/bottle/bottle date on it to make me feel better about myself, but you are free to try to fake your own back label if you want and then sell it on eBay.

*A friend of mine reminded me that TR has outsourced the actual distilling from the beginning to a distiller in Lawrenceburg, IN and has merely bottled it in Iowa since it opened.  If you want to see which sweet old lady from Templeton, IA hand labeled your bottle, check out the video on their website.

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