Guest Review - FEW Rye Cask Strength
Company: FEW Spirits
Classification: American Rye Whiskey
Mash Bill: 70% Rye, 20% Corn, 10% Barley
Price: c. £85
Back before this website existed, and before the world had ever heard of #TOOFT, Mav and Mr Pie set about discussing what we wanted this venture to be founded on. Our conclusion was that it should be inclusive, open, and honest. We feel we have kept to our guns on the latter 2 and now we finally can say we have nailed the inclusive part - by publishing our very first guest review. So sit back and read the views of Aiden Bertie - whisky reviewer extraordinaire & honorary Gent for life.
FEW Spirits are a craft distillery from Evanston, Illinois (somewhere near Chicago) that produce American whiskey and gin from ‘grain to glass’, that is they source much of their grain locally and are responsible for every step in the whiskey making process all the way to bottling it.
Founded in 2011 by Paul Hletko they are the first distillery in Evanston since Prohibition, named as they produce a few, for the few. However, some may say the company is named after Francis Elizabeth Willard, a local woman and part of the temperance movement that ultimately led to the introduction of Prohibition!
Also, each FEW spirits label presents us with an image from the Chicago World’s Fair of 1892, pretty cool stuff!
For this review, Aiden drank it neat in a Glencairn glass first of all, then added a few (he said no pun intended but we don't believe him - Mav) drops of water to reduce the proof to around 50%.
What Aiden got – Recognisable and familiar grainy bread that I get with all FEW bourbon and rye, rye bread perhaps. Some spice coming through with a little hint of citrus, slightly orangey. Very little heat that masks the high proof. Very pleasant, I could spend a lot of time with my nose in this glass! Adding water was of little benefit, it possibly brought out more of the citrus but not enough to be sure.
What they say he should get – Roasted red berries dusted with nutmeg and cinnamon, honey’d cereal and a kick of flamed orange peel.
What Aiden got – Instantly drying on the front of the tongue, giving away the high proof. Not a particularly oily mouthfeel but certainly not watery. The familiar grain flavour carries over from the nose then is displaced by a sweet syrupy flavour, possibly burnt, dark syrup. Surprisingly little spice given the 70% rye in the mash bill, no dominant spice notes pushing their way to the front for me. Adding water seemed to calm that dark syrup flavour down and allow a bit more citrusy fruit and spice through.
What they say he should get – Chocolatey at first, though soon dives deep into festive spice and butterscotch. A hint of menthol gives it a refreshing touch.
What Aiden got – This is where I get dark chocolate hanging around with that dark syrup for a pleasant and lengthy finish. I also get more woody notes with slight bitterness which I’ve come to expect from a much older whiskey. Adding water shortened the finish, or at least made the syrupy flavour less aggressive, more chocolate was allowed through to linger on my tongue.
What they say he should get – Enjoyable, peppery on the finish.
Kicking things off with the presentation, I adore the bottles used by FEW Spirits despite the first few pours leaving dribbles down the bottle due to shape (I’ve not mastered that yet) and the labels are great. The little strip with the batch number and Mr Paul Hletko’s signature on the bottle finishes it off.
My tasting notes seemed to be way off the expert opinions, but then they usually are. I will say though that I’ve tried some of the whiskies from FEW and they have all been very good. The FEW Delilah’s 23rd Anniversary whiskey was my first and I was impressed and eager to try more, also to get myself a bottle but I haven’t got around to that yet (the shame!). Their regular bourbon and rye are great, I was recently at a whisky festival in York and the biggest decision of the weekend was whether to come home with a FEW Bourbon or FEW Rye to stay within my 1 bottle limit, I went with bourbon. Since then I purchased a sample of the BBS Barrel Pick Bourbon which blew me away, that juice was fantastic. Anyway, I’ve ended up with this cask strength rye and while it’s not quite blown me away, it’s clearly a cut above their regular rye offering. I think I’m going to enjoy this bottle very much.
So, if you’re a FEW fan this is for you. In my opinion this is a very good rye on its own too, it has a uniqueness that I’ve not found in other ryes, and I put that down to the distillery since I get that with all FEW products. I really enjoyed spending some time with this whiskey for the review.
8 out of 10
Huge thanks to the Bourbon Gents, Mister Pie and Mav for unexpectedly asking me to review this for them. It’s an honour to get my first ever whiskey review out there on the Bourbon Gents website. Cheers Gents, keep up the good work.
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