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View Full Version : Anyone try the new Mckenzie rye whiskey?



emr454
12-29-2009, 14:37
Just curious to see if anyone has tried this whiskey and what they think of it. It's made in the finger lakes region here in NY, and I'm thinking of planning a trip to their distillery next year maybe. I'm curious what others think of it.

Eric

SMOWK
12-29-2009, 16:15
I've never seen it in any store. I'm on DelMarVa, but I make plenty of travels throughout Delaware and Maryland.

Josh
12-29-2009, 17:11
Lew Bryson mentions it here:

http://blog.maltadvocate.com/2009/12/10/guest-blog-lew-bryson-malt-advocate-managing-editor/


I recently had a pre-release sample of 13 month old rye from Finger Lakes Distilling, and it was sweet, brittle, and water-of-life fresh, with a grassiness and mint character that brought a smile to my lips.

Not sure what he means by "brittle", that's a new one to me.

emr454
12-29-2009, 18:51
Brittle? As in delicate, maybe?

I haven't seen it in stores yet, but it is online in some places and it looks like it's going to retail for about $40. There is one liqour store in Syracuse that is supposed to carry Finger Lakes Distilling products, they may or may not have their whole line up though.

callmeox
12-29-2009, 19:11
IMO, the pricing of these micro-distilled products will end up as their undoing.

I'll take a flyer and drop 6 to 10 bucks on a sixer of some unique micro-brew if the style sounds interesting, but 40 bucks for a 13 month old rye? Unless is was aged in barrels the size of thimbles, young spirit like that just doesn't appeal to me at all.

emr454
12-29-2009, 20:34
True, the price is a bit steep, but it's better than Charbay!

I'll buy it if I find it, and it may be the only bottle of theirs I buy, just to support a local micro-distiller. It's highly doubtful it will become a regular pour though. It may be a better idea to buy it from the distillery, they may give out samples, who knows? May even be cheaper.

Eric

emr454
12-29-2009, 20:44
Apparently they age the rye whiskey in quarter-casks. I found it on their blog here:
http://fingerlakesdistilling.blogspot.com/2009/11/rye-available-at-distillery-today.html

scratchline
12-30-2009, 06:11
I bought a bottle before Christmas and got around to opening it up a couple of days ago. Had it straight and in an Old Fashioned. While it will not be replacing my favorite ryes, it's an interesting product. The nose and taste are very white doggy. But good white dog. Strong and smooth. It has enough flavor to cut right through a cocktail and let you know it's there. Finally too young for my palate, and certainly for the price, but a bottle I'm willing to buy as a vote of support for the NY state distillers industry. At some point I'll mix it with a little of NY's own absinthe:

http://www.delawarephoenix.com/

for a Yankee Sazerac. That absinthe is fantastic, BTW. As I get into the bottle, I'll try to post something more descriptive about the McKenzie. For now, I'd say it's more similar to a Canadian rye than a classic American rye.

-Mike

p_elliott
12-30-2009, 06:54
Tom McKenzie one of the owners is a member over at BE I thought he was a member here also maybe not. He's very knowledgeable I've been waiting on their rye to come out they have bourbon aging also. I need to get a bottle of this.

emr454
12-30-2009, 07:35
...a bottle I'm willing to buy as a vote of support for the NY state distillers industry.

-Mike

My thoughts exactly.

As far as it being young, hopefully they will consider letting it age longer as they get more established and increase their stocks. If/when I do get a bottle, I'll be sure to report back with my opinion.


Eric

bourbonv
12-30-2009, 08:12
When I talked with Tom he said they have some normal sized barrels aging as well. His goal is to keep his prices down as much as possible while keeping the partners happy. I find his rye very good for what it is - a young rye aged in a small cask. I am encouraged that he is not try to artificially age with wood chips and such. In my opinion adding wood chips ruins the whiskey by adding a lot of bitter tannins that overpower any caramels or vanillas that the barrel may have contributed. Tom McKenzie agrees and and is doing things the slow way.

His Glen Thunder Corn whiskey is very good as well. Between the corn and the rye, I hope he makes enough money to keep in business until his aging stocks are ready.

Mike Veach

AVB
12-30-2009, 08:24
I have a bottle and have been in contact with the distillery about it. I was going to do a review but then got sick and put it off and then the holiday travel came up so I hope to post it up just after New Year's .

emr454
12-30-2009, 11:28
I sent Brian an email with a few questions about his bourbon. I don't know yet if he is willing to leak any info about it, but we shall see!

Eric

cowdery
12-31-2009, 14:38
I've had the rye. I like it. It's exactly what a young whiskey should be. The brief aging takes a little of the edge off the white dog character, but not too much. The thing is, don't expect it to taste like a fully aged rye. It's a different animal.

emr454
01-01-2010, 19:35
Chuck,

How does it compare to, say, Old Overholt? That is the youngest rye I've had, but even that is around 4 years IIRC.

Eric

cowdery
01-08-2010, 19:50
There is no comparison. Overholt is on the young side but it is fully aged. This stuff is basically new make, i.e., white dog, with just a little bit of wood. It's more comparable to Old Potrero or something like grappa or, for that matter, corn whiskey.

Most people would say it tastes "strong," even though what they're tasting is not more alcohol but more flavor, the residual flavors of grains and yeast in s low proof, unaged distillate. Although those flavors can be enjoyable, they are the reason whiskey is aged in the first place.

A certain brand likes to call itself "frontier whiskey," but McKenzie is much more like what the cowboys drank than that product is. It's a well made spirit but being largely innocent of oak gives it an inevitable vegetal sharpness.

tommyboy38
01-08-2010, 20:17
IMO, the pricing of these micro-distilled products will end up as their undoing.

I agree. $40 a bottle and you're trying to keep the price down?
Soundslik a bunch of rich guys with a hobby trying to cover their costs.

tmckenzie
01-11-2010, 07:51
Well, let me try to post again. I am glad to see all of the comments. I am the distiller that makes Mckenzie Rye. We do things different from the rest of the micros. We do things the old fashioned way, instead of a radical new way like all of the other micros. We use local grain, we only bring malt in. We grind, mash, ferment and distill right here. We use low distillation and barrel proof. We are using small 10 gallon barrels for getting some whiskey on the market sooner, but we are putting up 53 gallon barrels too, for long term aging. The rye is 80 percent rye and 20 percent malted barley. We do have bourbon that may be out this year. It is high in rye, and it double pot distilled in a tradional pot, no plates at all. The release will be from the small barrels. As far as rich folks paying for a hobby, not the case here, that is the case with a lot of micros but not us. Brian and I are in our early 30's with families to raise, so we have to go after it. The price of the rye is a lot cheaper than other microdistilled whiskey. I have seen 375's for 40 bucks. Whiskey is not cheap to make at all. I hope everyone gets to try it, you can buy it online as well as here at the distillery. If anyone wants a tour let me know, we would be glad to oblige. If anyone has any questions, please ask me.

emr454
01-11-2010, 09:18
Thanks for chiming in here! I think it's great to hear directly from producers and distillers about their products.

My wife and I are planning a trip out to the finger lakes area for our anniversary this July(we live near syracuse) and I am looking forward to visiting the distillery.

While $40 is a tad bit more than what I usually pay for a bottle of whiskey, I do not think it is ridiculous at all for someone just starting out. Hell, look at Charbay, $350 for a 750mL bottle!? That's downright insulting if you ask me. I don't care what it's made of, NOTHING is worth that much, period. I will gladly pay $40 for a bottle of rye whiskey made in my state. I like the idea of supporting local businesses.

Eric

cowdery
01-11-2010, 09:40
Tom McKenzie and I correspond quite a bit and I can tell you he's the real deal. He knows what he is doing and he shares the values, whiskey-wise, of most of the people on this board, in that he understands, honors and respects American whiskey-making traditions.

tmckenzie
01-11-2010, 15:03
Thanks for the kind words, Chuck. We try.

ggilbertva
02-27-2010, 13:01
See my review here (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showpost.php?p=198164&postcount=1).

smokinjoe
06-12-2010, 11:08
Don't ask me why I'm reading the July edition of Martha Stewart's "Living" magazine :o, but there is a small blurb in the Great Find section that features a few small-scale distillers. Included, is the Finger Lakes Distilling, and their McKenzie Rye Whiskey. It's obvious Martha thinks the McKenzie Rye is "a good thing". She says: "McKenzie rye whiskey, which uses New York State grain, conjures the warm woodsy-ness of a campfire in the Finger Lakes region."

With this positive review from Martha under his belt, Tom will next be appearing on Oprah! as she launches her "Oprah's Whiskey Club". ;)

And me? Well, I'm off to make some nifty home-made pillow covers from inexpensive throw rugs and linen artists' canvas!! (pg. 86) And, this Chicken and Andouille Gumbo recipe looks just perfect for Supper! (pg. 132)

:toast:

Dramiel McHinson
06-12-2010, 12:11
And me? Well, I'm off to make some nifty home-made pillow covers from inexpensive throw rugs and linen artists' canvas!! (pg. 86) And, this Chicken and Andouille Gumbo recipe looks just perfect for Supper! (pg. 132)

:toast:


Joe, Don't forget to take a page from Emril LaGassy. While preparing the Chicken and Andouille Gumbo, he adds a bit of smokey spice in the form of a good rye whiskey. After several long pulls on the bottle to ensure the taste is right, he splashes about six ounces into the gumbo and then, BAM, he adds a bit of pepper. :grin:

cowdery
06-12-2010, 21:04
Joe, Don't forget to take a page from Emril LaGassy. While preparing the Chicken and Andouille Gumbo, he adds a bit of smokey spice in the form of a good rye whiskey. After several long pulls on the bottle to ensure the taste is right, he splashes about six ounces into the gumbo and then, BAM, he adds a bit of pepper. :grin:

I think that's called, in culinary terms, 'self-marinating.'

smokinjoe
06-12-2010, 22:55
Joe, Don't forget to take a page from Emril LaGassy. While preparing the Chicken and Andouille Gumbo, he adds a bit of smokey spice in the form of a good rye whiskey. After several long pulls on the bottle to ensure the taste is right, he splashes about six ounces into the gumbo and then, BAM, he adds a bit of pepper. :grin:

Duly noted Dan, and thanks!! I'm not sure I can keep it under 6 ounces, though! :D
Cheers!

tmckenzie
06-13-2010, 01:19
Come on now, you know you read Martha every month.:lol:

smokinjoe
06-13-2010, 10:37
Come on now, you know you read Martha every month.:lol:

Just for the pictures! Martha is H-O-T!! :D

ThomasH
01-20-2011, 15:11
I got a bottle of this today after tasting a sample given to me by a fellow SB'er. I like this stuff alot, even in a mixed drink. The aging in sherry barrels give it a nice touch!

Thomas

HP12
04-21-2011, 21:11
Just ordered a bottle each of McKenzie Bourbon and Rye. Looking forward to the tasting as well as adding these as representatives of micro-distillery expressions to my collection.

nblair
04-22-2011, 06:58
Tom, are your products sold at any specialty stores in KY (Party Source, etc.) or is distribution limited to the NY area? Your 80% rye aged in smaller barrels and finished in used sherry casks sounds like a great product!

tmckenzie
04-22-2011, 15:09
I think Jay Erisman just took it on. But I do not know if he has product yet. My hands are full with making it. I will find out and let you know.

HP12
04-22-2011, 15:44
I think Jay Erisman just took it on. But I do not know if he has product yet. My hands are full with making it. I will find out and let you know.

That would be awesome TM. I just ordered from another source and should have the Rye and Bourbon in hand next week. Would prefer to order thru Party Source whenever possible as Jay and Company are great! The more choices they have, the more I order.

I look forward to trying your expressions and thanks for popping into this forum with info and basic chat!

emr454
08-10-2011, 16:14
Well, I finally went out and bought this bottle of Mckenzie Rye. Why, oh why, did I wait so long to give this one a taste?

I have to say, this is the first rye whiskey that's had a biscuity, rye bread/Irish soda bread flavor up front. The flavor then fades into something reminiscent of opening a box of lipton black tea and taking a nice deep breath. There is a restrained rye spiciness, perhaps a bit minty, and a moderate finish ending up with a nice soft dryness. This isn't a bold, spicy rye, but very elegant and well balanced.

In conclusion, If you haven't tried this yet in fear of it being a young whiskey, put your fears aside and buy a bottle! I'm sure you wont be disappointed.

Tmckenzie, please keep up the good work over there at FLD, and thank you for such a unique product.

Eric

tmckenzie
08-11-2011, 02:46
Well, I finally went out and bought this bottle of Mckenzie Rye. Why, oh why, did I wait so long to give this one a taste?

I have to say, this is the first rye whiskey that's had a biscuity, rye bread/Irish soda bread flavor up front. The flavor then fades into something reminiscent of opening a box of lipton black tea and taking a nice deep breath. There is a restrained rye spiciness, perhaps a bit minty, and a moderate finish ending up with a nice soft dryness. This isn't a bold, spicy rye, but very elegant and well balanced.

In conclusion, If you haven't tried this yet in fear of it being a young whiskey, put your fears aside and buy a bottle! I'm sure you wont be disappointed.

Tmckenzie, please keep up the good work over there at FLD, and thank you for such a unique product.

Eric
Thanks man. I am keeping at it. You are right about the tea, you get it big time over the fermenter.

emr454
08-11-2011, 04:18
I would have attributed the tea taste to tannins from barrel aging, but if you're smelling it in the fermenter then is it a product of the grains/mash?

Eric

tmckenzie
08-11-2011, 15:53
I would have attributed the tea taste to tannins from barrel aging, but if you're smelling it in the fermenter then is it a product of the grains/mash?

Eric
It is from the mash not the barrel. There are a lot of hiney notes i get too. It is in the mash as well.

nblair
12-03-2013, 19:57
Just noticed McKenzie Rye hit Party Source! Congrats to Tom and anyone nearby that hasn't had the pleasure of trying it yet. I hope Leopold Bros. is the next to make its way into KY.

tanstaafl2
12-04-2013, 16:30
Just noticed McKenzie Rye hit Party Source! Congrats to Tom and anyone nearby that hasn't had the pleasure of trying it yet. I hope Leopold Bros. is the next to make its way into KY.

Hasn't reached Georgia yet so I recently got a bottle shipped from NY (Batch 13/2013).

17000

Liked it very much and so I got the bourbon and pot still whiskey recently to try as well. Will have to work those into the rotation soon!

TunnelTiger
12-05-2013, 13:15
Please let us know when it hits the shelves in the big city.

Ejmharris
12-05-2013, 14:04
If it is even as close to being as good as the bourbon samples Ingot last year, it will be fantastic. One of the small guys doing things right!!


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