Like its bourbon, the rye produced by Frey Ranch Farmers + Distillers is made from grains grown on the company’s Nevada ranch. In this case, that means 100% winter rye that’s then aged at least four years and bottled in bond at a heady 100 proof.
Its nose starts earthy, but is overtaken by sweet, bready notes that bring to mind fresh vanilla scones covered in buttercream frosting. That interesting butter note is apparent from the first sip, which starts crisp and clean on the palate with further flavors of vanilla shortbread cookies. The palate rapidly takes on a thick, viscous quality as it turns to rich fruity flavors at the middle, most notably caramel-covered candy apple.
Those bready, vanilla notes go into overdrive at the back, resulting in waves of rich, creamy vanilla coupled to oak spice and traces of ginger and pepper that cling on to the buttery finish—it’s soft for a 100% rye yet made deliciously substantial by virtue of its texture on the palate.
A 100-proof, 100% rye is typically spice bomb territory, but Frey Ranch Straight Rye Whiskey is decidedly (and deliciously) different. It’s as full-bodied as any pure rye at that strength should be, but comes across as a buttery, bready delight that offers plenty to enjoy outside of the standard rye playbook. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention its utility in an Old-Fashioned, where it presents all of its buttered vanilla glory and a satisfyingly thick texture.
— 50% ABV