Templeton Rye whiskey as we know it today has been in the market since 2006, according to the producer’s website. It contains no age statement, and is bottled at 80 proof. I want to focus this review on the juice inside the bottle, but have to mention the label controversy.
In a nutshell, Templeton’s old label said it was a small batch prohibition-era recipe made in Templeton, Iowa. That’s all fine, except the whiskey was actually distilled at MGP in Indiana. A lawsuit was filed claiming deceptive marketing, and the plaintiffs won. As a result, “Prohibition-era recipe” and “small batch” were removed from the label. In accordance with the Alcohol & Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s labeling laws, Templeton’s new label now states it is distilled in Indiana. It was a long, messy journey to get them to change labels. If you’re curious about the lawsuit, feel free to google it.
Something else of note, the label states this is a “rye whiskey” instead of a “straight rye whiskey.” That means a very small amount of flavoring can be added to the whiskey. Keep in mind, this is completely legal in terms of labeling. If this were a “straight rye whiskey”, no artificial flavoring or coloring can be added.
On the nose, there’s sweet caramel followed by a strong dill note. I usually detect this note on other MGP ryes, such as Bulleit, George Dickel or Rebel Yell Rye. I also get a sharp black pepper note that’s usual in some rye whiskies. Taste-wise, the entry starts with a burst of candy sweetness followed by herbal & rye grain notes and a very light touch of vanilla. The mouthfeel feels a bit thin, but I think that’s due to the low proof. Although it’s not rich, it does retain a smoothness. The medium finish maintains the sweet notes.
Controversy aside, Templeton Rye isn’t a complex whiskey. It’s not a bad whiskey, but it’s also not a great one. It’s one I’d suggest as a mixer over a sipper. It might make a great Manhattan or Old Fashioned.