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Gillman

New rye whiskeys

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Gillman

Ken, you are right, I forgot about that. We must add Potrero to the list and indeed it was a trailblazer as the same company was in beer 40 years ago (Anchor Steam).

So we have in this new group:

Potrero straight rye

The West Virginia rye whiskey (can't recall name at the moment)

Templeton rye

forthcoming Hudson Baby Bourbon

Gary

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kbuzbee

Potrero is funny though.... With a lot of things you can be in the mood for A but if you have B, that's okay too. Potrero is, to me, more like Tequila.... If you want something specific, it will not be a good substitute.... But if that's what you want, nothing else will do.

Hope your NYE was a good one.

Ken

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TNbourbon
...The West Virginia rye whiskey (can't recall name at the moment)...

Isaiah Morgan.

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cowdery

I apologize for not getting into this sooner, but Templeton Rye just popped up onto my radar screen for another reason.

The web site is very nice and evocative, but suspiciously short on production details. Gary says he saw a picture of a still, but I can't find it and I think I looked at every page.

If you actually have a distillery, wouldn't you show it?

All it says about production is: "Templeton Rye is a single malt, single barrel rye whiskey of exceptional quality, but the recipe remains a secret outside of the company, regulators and the Western Iowa town where it was born."

As we know from experience, "secret recipe" usually means "phony," as in this is nothing more than a contract bottling. There isn't a sufficiently good label pic on the site to see what the label actually says, but "single malt" isn't really a regulated term. It should mean a 100% malt whiskey and since it also says "rye," that would mean 100% malted rye, but there is no guarantee that is what it really means, or that it means anything at all.

There is one person making whiskey from a 100% malted rye mash and that is Fritz Maytag (Anchor Distilling/Old Potrero).

Seeing a full label would tell us more, so maybe someone in Iowa could provide that. You don't necessarily have to buy a bottle. (Use the "macro" setting on your digital camera.)

Shoot the front and back.

I'm very suspicious about this product. Unless I see real evidence to the contrary, I'm going to assume this is just a contract-bottling of rye whiskey produced by one of the usual suspects. The whole business model seems a lot like Conecuh Ridge.

Here's what someone who has tasted it had to say, "Murky gold color and good weight. This really reminds me more of bourbon, but it has a solid dry, rye at the end. Solid Fruit with a nice lengthy finish."

I found the picture below on Flickr and for all I know it was a prototype, i.e., it may not be the TTB-approved, now-in-stores label, but what it tells us comes from what is absent. No "single malt" and no "straight." Also no age statement, but in whiskeys less than four years old, the age statement usually is in mouse type on the back label.

We need to know a lot more about Templeton Rye before we get too excited.

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Gillman

The still is there.

Look under the "History" button, you will see a pot still with a reflux column extension. It is described as having a capacity of 300 gallons and the whiskey is said to be made by "our master distiller". This suggests to me the whiskey is not contract-distilled unless it is contract-distilled by another small company which owns that still. That is possible I guess but even so it would still be a craft product.

I would think, given that the word straight is not part of the brand name (as far as I know), it is aged under 2 years.

It has a nice colour and I find the taste note reported by Chuck encouraging.

Gary

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cowdery

My mistake. I see the picture now. Hummmm. That looks familiar.

What do you know, it's lifted straight from the Bavarian Holstein Partners catalog. (BHP makes the eau de vie stills favored by so many American craft distillers. Which, in my opinion, are not pot stills.)

In other words, the picture they are presenting as "their" still is a catalog shot of "a" still from a German still manufacturer.

I'm more convinced than ever, Templeton is a contract-bottled bulk whiskey.

Phony, phony, phony-baloney.

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barturtle

I pulled up the TTB app. No age statement. No distilled by statement.

There are 3 apps. One for a blended rye, one for a 10% rye 90% cane and one for a straight rye. Oddly the blended app also says single barrel?

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TNbourbon
...10% rye 90% cane...

Hmmm -- Indian whisky from Iowa?:skep:

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Gillman

Interesting, that German website lists about 15 American microdistillers as customers though, so their equipment clearly is well-known to U.S. craft distillers. No one in Iowa is listed, but the list is described as "some" of the customers.

My guess: either one of those micros is distilling for Templeton, or it has its own still but is not listed.

For me, the key is whether the product is craft-distilled, and either way, I would think it must be.

Gary

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ILLfarmboy
My mistake. I see the picture now. Hummmm. That looks familiar.

What do you know, it's lifted straight from the Bavarian Holstein Partners catalog. (BHP makes the eau de vie stills favored by so many American craft distillers. Which, in my opinion, are not pot stills.)

In other words, the picture they are presenting as "their" still is a catalog shot of "a" still from a German still manufacturer.

I'm more convinced than ever, Templeton is a contract-bottled bulk whiskey.

Phony, phony, phony-baloney.

Well, that's disappointing. I'm glad I didn't spend my hard earned cash on it. My first clue that something wasn't right was the fact it showed up on a local retailer's shelf. Around here if something new shows up on the shelves its something like Philip's Union Flavored Whiskey or some new gimmicky schnapps. Never Saz jr, or BTAC.

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Gillman

Here's what I found from doing an Internet search last night, part of the info is from a Des Moines Register story of November 7, 2006. There is reference to a plant in Iowa, with an explanation of how the business was set-up and financed and its principal, and a picture of some people standing in front of what seems clearly to be an open wooden fermenting tank. In the back are two metal tanks which are probably water tanks. No still is shown in that particular photo but the story refers again to a 300 gallon still from which "clear" spirit is derived and then aged in wood and that the plant was full of wooden barrels. It seems to me from reading this story that the liquor was distilled and aged there, that's the impression I got. I think the DSP number, pictured on barrels shown in the launch party photos, is DSP-IA-15001. The Des Moines Register story states that the whiskey is 4 years old (so it would seem to qualify as a straight whiskey, even if not so termed on the label). Anyway that's all I could find so far apart from what the site states itself. I'd like to try this whiskey, clearly it is a new product and there isn't much information out yet, but I suspect it is a good dram of whiskey.

Gary

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cowdery

One of Gary's most endearing qualities is his relentlessly rosy and hopeful outlook. Here is a "glass half full" guy if there ever was one.

But with regard to Templeton Rye, I think your faith is misplaced. They may well have a "facility." It may well have tanks and barrels in it. Yes, they have a DSP number, which is required for any "producer," even if that producer is merely a bottler.

It seems to me from reading this story that the liquor was distilled and aged there, that's the impression I got.

Which is, of course, exactly the impression they are working overtime to give you, but that doesn't make it true.

As for the whiskey itself, the absence of the word "straight" doesn't mean it isn't straight whiskey. Use of the term is optional, and the lack of an age statement suggests an age of at least four years old.

To me, all of the evidence points to this being standard rye whiskey made and aged at one of the Kentucky distilleries, possibly bottled in Iowa, but there is no assurance of that even.

But I am probably the poorer man for my cynical outlook.

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cowdery
I pulled up the TTB app. No age statement. No distilled by statement.

There are 3 apps. One for a blended rye, one for a 10% rye 90% cane and one for a straight rye. Oddly the blended app also says single barrel?

Timothy passed these on to me, at my request (thank you), and one other point of interest is that the blend's label indicates that it contains 40% grain spirits (i.e., GNS). It also specifically says "bottled in Templeton on," with a space for a date.

What Timothy is calling "straight rye" does not, in fact, have the word "straight" on it. It is identical to the label in the picture already posted and probably is the product currently in the marketplace.

The 10% rye, 90% cane version I find interesting. It is attributed to a particular family, the Kerkhoffs. This sounds like an authentic moonshine recipe, i.e., mostly table sugar, with a little bit of rye for flavor.

All three applications were submitted in October of last year.

My assumption is that, as is often the case with these projects, the owners have a plan and intend to actually make spirits from scratch, in their own distillery, but to get some name recognition and cash flow going, they have acquired some existing whiskey from one of the usual suspects and are doing everything possible to give the impression that they made it themselves.

I salute entrepreneurship and consider that a reasonable way to launch such a venture, but I wish they would give the consumer more credit and just be honest about it.

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Gillman

I just don't think this is Kentucky bulk whiskey: maybe it is though, I don't known for sure of course.

I guess we will have to wait until further facts are known from the source, i.e., the Templeton Rye Spirits company mentioned on the website.

Gary

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Gillman

I guess that it is possible that barrels are dumped into the open wooden vat I saw in the picture for bottling. This wouldn't (I would think) apply to the single barrel rye whiskey, but it might apply to the other two products mentioned.

That vat might have multiple uses, too.

An interesting story it is, and I too support all such entrepreneurial efforts, they result one way or another in different products (e.g., those two blends at least) and if a Kentucky rye is being aged on site, aging in Western Iowa may impart a different quality than Kentucky aging. Even if no production is actually occurring on site, maybe it will one day, as Chuck said.

I do remain optimistic though that the rye whiskey that has been released was distilled in Templeton (or even elsewhere) in the still shown on the website; anyway, we will see.

Gary

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cowdery

Remember, the "still shown on the website" is in a showroom somewhere in Germany, not in Iowa. "Their" still is not merely the same as the still in the picture, it is the exact same picture. They merely lifted a picture from the German still manufacturer's catalog.

If they have a still, in Iowa, in operation, why haven't they shown it? If they have a "master distiller," why haven't they named him or her? If they launched a distillery operation 4+ years ago, why did we only start hearing about it a few months ago?

As for the wooden tub (and I couldn't find the pictures you mention, so I'm relying on your description), it's possible there is some remnant of one of the prohibition-era facilities there, which would be a natural place to throw a launch party. Or, to paraphrase Freud, sometimes a wooden tub is just a wooden tub. There's no reason to believe it was used for anything other than as a prop for a picture.

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Gillman

Just to clarify, the wooden tub wasn't in the launch party pictures. It was in the Des Moines Register story I mentioned, which was written months before the launch and was a straight business story. The picture of the still, well, I don't know, there could be many reasons why a stock picture (from the supplier) was selected. I wish I was better at linking things I find to this site. But search "Templeton rye + launch party" and those pics should come up. It looked like a nice party, with some people dressed in period (flapper) costumes. That is where that barrel was I saw, with the DSP number. As for the Des Moines Register story, I'll try to find it again but the date I gave was correct.

Gary

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JDutton

Since it isn't too far from here, I'm kind of interested in Templeton Rye. Here's an interesting article about Templeton Rye from last November:

 
http://publications.iowa.gov/archive/00004327/01/November_10,_2006_e-News.doc#Eight

I'm not sure if this is the best way to add a link.

One interesting line in the article:

"The first batch of 5,000 cases has now been aged for four years."

Jeff

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Gillman

Thanks Jeff, that is the Des Moines Register piece I meant (look under Iowa News, about Templeton giving rye a new shot).

If you live not far and decide to stop by the operation in Templeton, maybe you can ask them where the rye whiskey now on the market was distilled.

Gary

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cowdery

I've read the story. I'm now convinced that there is a facility. The tanks in the background of the group photo look like dump tanks for a single barrel bottling line. The tubs can't be anything other than fermenters and look exactly like the ones David Beam got from Michter's, maybe a hair larger.

On the other hand, if Mr. Bush began "two years of research" in 2002, he simply didn't have time to make a fully aged rye by the Fall of 2006.

The "Kerkhoff Recipe," mentioned in the story, is the 10% rye, 90% cane "distilled spirit specialty" in the TTB package, and not the "rye whiskey" that is in stores now.

The article's description of the distillation process is, at best, muddled. "It starts in an uber still, a huge 300-gallon copper barrel where the clear liquid trickles through the methodical process - grain cooking, adding yeast, firing it to steaming hot and, finally, condensation. After the single-malt liquor is aged in a single white oak barrel, a fine amber is produced."

The words "single malt" appear on none of the TTB-approved labels.

I don't know what an "uber still" is supposed to be, but if you Google the term, you find a bulletin board discussion of the question, "is the word uber still cool." Clearly, this is "still" used in a different sense altogether, but the initial posting is amusing: "Lukethedj05-18-2006, 03:32 AM. May sound like a dumb question but im putting together a marketing strategy and Ad campaign for a company that wants to reach 20-somethings and was curious if that word in the ads would sound stupid. Is there any similar meaning words that would be better?"

The still volume of 300 gallons keeps getting repeated, but here is the manufacturer's description of the still pictured on the Templeton web site.

"This steam-heated pot still has a column with three bubble plates and a catalyzer. It includes a collecting tank for the end product and sensor-controlled alcohol pumps. It is best used for commercial production. Filling capacity of about 2,000 liters."

Two-thousand liters is, of course, 528.34 US gallons, not 300. I also note that a still of this design probably would not be capable of distilling from a mash, but only from a wash.

Bavarian-Holstein, by the way, is a partnership between a California manufacturer of brewery equipment and a German manufacturer of distillery equipment.

None of this new information has changed my assessment very much. Mr. Bush, like the good Sloan MBA that he is, is marketing his ass off. And playing a little fast and loose with the facts in the process. My conclusion is that he got his DSP a year ago, maybe two, bought some young rye from, probably, Heaven Hill, finished aging it in Iowa and once he got his labels approved, bottled up a few cases, and there we go. I find the "5,000 cases" figure hard to believe too, assuming the standard 9 liter case (a "flat" case in industry parlance), that's the output of 240 barrels.

I don't think so.

The number one problem with the theory that this is a genuine craft-distilled article is that it isn't that easy. As the old saying goes, if it was easy, everybody would be doing it, and there is a reason so few craft distillers are making real whiskey. It's hard. It takes somebody who know what they're doing. In short, it takes a Beam.

If Bush, in fact, has Kerkhoff or one of the other old moonshiners actually making the stuff now, making anything, why wouldn't they show pictures of it? Wouldn't you?

But still and all, with the caveat that I prefer people who tell the truth, more power to the guy. I genuinely hope he pulls it off.

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Gillman

Well, the 4 year timing thing occurred to me too. Maybe the 4 year old rye whiskey in the stores now was sourced somewhere else with aging completed on site (maybe from another micro with a still as described on the website, or maybe not). Maybe whiskey is being produced on site now that is intended to go into one of the blends that was mentioned (e.g., the non-cane one) and also is being aged for release ultimately as a rye whiskey or straight rye. But the only way to know is to ask the people behind the operation...

Gary

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cowdery

Following Tim's lead on the WR4G matter, I just emailed Templeton and pointed them here.

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TNbourbon

While reading the Templeton posts in this thread the thought kept nagging me that we've covered some of this ground before. Sure enough, a search for "Templeton" finds a couple of previous threads on this very whiskey.

I find this one most telling, as it contains a link to an earlier business story, from June 2005:

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showpost.php?p=43097&postcount=1

Stated are plans to break ground on a production facility 'next month', which would have been July 2005 -- thus, presumably, Templeton did no actual distilling (at least at that site) until a significantly later time. At the same time, if they already had now-4yo whiskey aging, it must have been distilled elsewhere.

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Gillman

Thanks Tim. I do recall the earlier discussion. Of course, people often start a business, and production, in a small-scale way and then transfer it to purpose-designed facilities. So a number of things are possible here, including having the whiskey craft-distilled and aged by another small producer until the plant was financed and established.

Hopefully we will learn more but in any case I hope some SB-ers will purchase some of the rye that has been released and offer taste notes. 4 year old rye whiskey is always good to have around the house. The existing brands in that category are all different one from the other and I have a feeling Templeton rye will cut its own swath.

Gary

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Gillman

In reading about Templeton rye as it was during Prohibition, both on the website of Templeton Rye Spirits and on the Internet generally, it really brings back what a different time it was between 1919 and 1933 in America. In fact, as for many States, Iowa had banned alcohol 4 years before Volstead became law.

In the 1800's, the lowa legislature made repeated efforts to ban alcohol or control it severely, sometimes jousting with the Supreme Court before its jurisdiction was clarified.

Of course, this was again in tune with the times and many other States had similar histories. I am not sure when local option was restored to Iowa after 1933. Clearly the sentiment against King Alcohol was as strong there as in many other places we have discussed on this board. Probably the rural regions, which would be most of the State, resisted re-introduction of beverage alcohol for some time after the U.S. Constitution was amended in 1933 to permit legal sale and consumption of alcohol.

It appears the Prohibition-era Templeton rye was associated with a number of farms and localities in the environs of Templeton, which is in the north west part of the State. From what I have read, it had a reputation for high quality and was "reddish". It was known across the nation in speakeasies and was often added to near beer to alcoholise it. I don't know if it was all the same in taste, probably any whiskey under this name had shared characteristics but varied depending on who made it. I wonder if it was some type of blend, again there were probably different types.

It is hard to believe that at one time, only two and a half generations ago, drinking culture in America was associated with subterfuge, thumbing of laws, and illicit-tinged glamour. Today, things are different but the fascination with the flapper era continues and the restoration of Templeton rye attests to it. It is a great concept and good business plan. I like a good marketing package no less than most, but of course I am hoping the whiskeys being introduced will taste great too.

Gary

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