The Few Rye review
Company: Few Spirits
Age: NAS but less than 4 years
Classification: American Rye Whiskey
Breakdown: 70% rye, 20% corn, 10% malted barley
Price: c. £62.50
FEW Spirits are from Evanston Illinois just outside of Chicago, which also happened to be, and still is, home to the Temperance Movement of America. Ironically, the company name and initials used ‘FEW’ are derived from a former President of the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement, Francis E Willard. We don’t think she would be particularly amused with that, but then again, maybe she would see the funny side.
FEW Spirits boast, very loudly and proudly on their website, that they are one of only very few distilleries whose spirits continue to remain truly handcrafted and small-batched. Their standard whiskey offerings include regular bourbon, single barrel bourbon, rye whiskey (reviewed below) and a cask strength rye whiskey, which happens to have been the subject of our very first guest review on this website. You can read it that review here.
As well as a regular American gin they also make a very interesting barrel gin which has been aged in oak barrels which apparently tastes like a gin but with the maturity of bourbon.
The Gents stumbled across the FEW bourbon brand (almost literally) a few years ago during our seemingly never-ending quest to try every new bourbon that we find. It wasn’t particularly memorable at the time but what we do remember was how unique the bottle design, shape and labelling was. You’ve got to love a bottle shape… we must do that Top 10 bottle list someday. Anyway here are our thoughts below.
For this review we drank it neat in a Glencairn glass as usual. Mav was suffering with a cold but he put a brave face on and drank the whiskey anyway!
What we got – Fresh, a little fruity, citric with eucalyptus. Aromas of the outdoors, particularly grass on a sunny day. Smaller amounts of nuttiness and vanilla rear up the longer you nose. Some Rye noses can be a little harsh, but overall, we found this to be very pleasant
What they say we should get - The aroma is particularly fruity with notes of apples, pears and plums with a spicy after thought
What we got – Not as spicy as you might expect. Quite buttery for a Rye with notes of honey and fresh fruits throughout (Mr Pie). At the back-end a little pepper shows up with orange rind. Dare we say like an Old Fashioned but without the extras?
What they say we should get - The flavour is as fruity as the aroma with more apples and pears but also a little unripe banana and candied orange peel
What we got – Differences were found between us with regards to the overall finish. Mav thought it was medium but with structure, whereas Mr Pie called out a lengthy and dry finish. Neither of us could find too many lasting flavours
What they say we should get - The finish is long and lingering with notes of fresh orange juice, spice and apple tart
Few Rye Whiskey – Distilled from grain, artisan spirit, by the few, for the few. We love the funky taglines, love the bottle and love the labelling but more importantly, did we love the whiskey?
If you look at the tasting notes from the experts, you could easily translate these into, “Apples, apples, how do you like those apples? We most certainly found the fruits but not in every layer. This whiskey is so far away from the preferred tasting profile of one half of the Gents (that would be Mav, if you’ve not familiar with our previous work) but both of us were overall generally impressed, particularly by the juicy and crisp palate of the whiskey
It is not one of those lip curling, tongue twisting ryes which are not always to everyone’s tastes, but we found that this whiskey has a texture, depth and subtleness you don’t often find in a rye whiskey. Don’t get us wrong, you will have to be a fan of rye whiskey to make an investment in this bottle for it to be worthwhile. When the cost goes well beyond the £50 mark you really do need have affection for the rye profile.
We are definitely looking forward to exploring their portfolio further. This whiskey is not cheap this side of the pond so sample buy or find in bar before you take the plunge.
5 out of 10 - Mav
7 out of 10 – Mr. Pie