Located in Northern Michigan near Grand Traverse Bay, which is part of Lake Michigan sits Traverse City Whiskey Company. Michigan might not be synonymous with Rye but the company is quietly making a name for themselves. We recently gave their barrel proof bourbon a 96 rating which had us eager to try the barrel proof Rye.
According to the bottle, “This uncut rye whiskey is age for more than four years and has a traditional rye spice with a buttery finish.” Is that accurate, let’s find out.
Rye Review:Traverse City Whiskey Co. Straight Rye Whiskey Barrel Proof
ABV: 56% (112 Proof)
Age: 4+ Years
Color: Dark Amber
Mash Bill: 95% Rye 5% Malted Barley
Distillery: Traverse City Whiskey Co.
Location: Traverse City, MI (USA)
The Nose: Just opening the bottle fills the air with pine and lemongrass. It’s probably the most vivid aroma I have ever experienced just pouring from the bottle. After letting the rye sit in my glass for a bit, the nose reveals a subtle peppermint with a hint of butterscotch.
The Taste: The initial sip comes off as being lower in proof then advertised until the big finish left on the palate reveals some of that heat mixed in with rye spice. At first the Traverse City Barrel Proof Rye reveals a a caramel sweetness followed but a hint of cinnamon with a big anise finish. Additional sips doesn’t change much with the exception of occasional notes of clove.
The Pairing:We opted to pair our cigar with a brand called El Gueguense (wah-when-say)which is made up of 100% Nicaragua tobaccos. On its own the cigar serves up notes of anise along with a raisin sweetness. When paired together the cigar bring out a more citrus flavor profile on the rye. This is a negative for us, but it really comes down to the eye of the beholder. Our pairing never affects the final score, but if did it would be minus 3.
Conclusion: I am a big fan of the barrel proof expressions from Traverse City Whiskey Company. This flavorful and balanced rye delivers. It might not have that buttery finish as advertised on the bottle, but it is enjoyably complex and very smooth. Their barrel proof bourbon is in the running for our liquor of the year and the rye isn’t much further behind. .This is an excellent release that is worth the purchase.
Price: $79.99 (750ml)