Templeton has a limited-release Stout Cask Finish for their world-famous rye whiskey. It’s a completely different feel for an American whiskey. And I like it.
The formula is pretty simple. Take the straight rye whiskey that Templeton is already known for (95 percent rye, 5 percent malted barley) and age it six years or so in a charred new American oak. Then it is finished in a cask that previously contained a barrel-aged chocolate coffee stout. This aged barrel adds some stout to the whiskey, bringing it a cocoa edge.
I’m a great lover of whisky/whiskey, scotch, and stout beers. And this is a good one. If you aren’t a fan of rye, you should try Templeton’s Rye Stout Cask Finish anyway. Especially if you’re a fan of smooth scotch whiskey.
I say that because there are two things about the stout barrel used here that, it seems to me, transform the rye into a more Scottish brew. I think it’s a mixture of the heavy beer barrel flavor and the coffee touches that do that. I’m not personally a huge fan of chocolate coffee stouts, but coffee-infused whiskey is wonderful. So what we have here is a sort of best of everything in one bottle.
Official Tasting Notes:
Aroma: Aromas of roasted chocolate, creamy cocoa, and dried apricot hint spectacularly at what’s to come
Taste: Complex and full-bodied with sweet malt and roasted barley that dovetail with black cherries and toasted almonds, giving way to subtle coffee tones over a base of rye pepper and spice
Finish: Perfectly balanced with a creamy mouthfeel of roasted coffee and cocoa that slowly dissipates into a long decadent finish
The cocoa from the coffee and the kick of the stout beer combine with the rye to smooth it a little, adding some back-of-tongue flavor that mitigates some of the hick kick rye often has. When combined with smoking the glass before pouring, it’s even better. This makes the Templeton Rye Stout Cask Finish nearer to a smooth sipping (non-petey) scotch without losing its American whiskey finish. The rye is still there, it’s just less of a mule kick–which is what turns off many drinkers to rye in the first place.
None of this means that the Stout Cask Finish is removing the American rye whiskey feel of the Templeton, though. It’s just smoothing the part that many don’t like. Sort of popularizing it, in a way, without killing its original intent. Kind of like Metallica’s Black Album, before they went all Load/Re-Load.
Templeton’s Stout Cask Finish rye hit shelves in mid-November of this year and immediately got attention. Being a fan of whiskey finished in stout and stout finished in whiskey, it was a no-brainer that I was going to give it a shot. Or three. My preferred is from a smoked glass, the glass itself frozen and the whiskey poured neat. But a cube of ice or a clean glass aren’t bad here either. Your choice.