McKenzie Rye Whiskey Review

by Ernie Ayres on December 12, 2012

McKenzie Rye Whiskey Review

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My father-in-law asked if I would like to try a new whiskey for a review. I don’t know why people keep asking me that. They know what I’m going to say! YES! So he hands me the last pour of McKenzie Rye Whiskey made by Finger Lakes Distillery in Burdett, NY. Even though I am not a huge rye fan I will give this one a go. Thanks, Pop! On to the McKenzie Rye Whiskey review.

Here’s a funny tidbit: The two owners are both named “McKenzie”, but they aren’t related. After meeting at a conference, they decided to go in to business together.

I am always excited to try new whiskey especially if I haven’t heard the name before. With that, I got home, got a glass and started tasting.

The bottle and label are quite plain. It looks like they were going for an old-school label look but I don’t think they quite got it. That and the plain bottle give it a boring presentation. Although, I have been surprised by boring before, i.e. Lismore Single Malt. Keeping an open mind, I went in for the kill.

The color is a light amber, maybe even a deep gold. In the bottle or in a glass it was pretty much the same.

The nose is spicy with only a slight rye aroma, not at all what I expected from a rye whiskey. There is also a heavy nut aroma, walnut maybe? A very nice scent overall. With a splash of water the walnut dialed back a little and I got more spice and rye, with a little caramel.

Without any water or ice I got, as expected, heavy rye on the front, a nice bit of allspice, nutty and a faint woody floral mix. I was expecting a splash of water to open the flavor up as it did the nose but it was unaffected by the water. Still a very consistent rye, spice taste. The finish was good. The rye makes a fast retreat but the nutty, spicy flavor takes a little while to figure out where the door is.

I’m not typically a rye fan so the overall score will reflect that. That being said, I think it is pretty good…for a rye. The spicy, nutty flavor is what really sets this whiskey apart from other rye whiskeys that I have had. I could easily picture myself drinking a big pour of this while eating fish or a big steak. Definitely a dinner whiskey. At $39 locally, though, I would have expected a little more.

McKenzie Rye Whiskey gets a 7 out of 10 Noses. If I were a bigger rye whiskey fan this definitely would have received a better score. If you decide to take a gamble on McKenzie Rye I don’t think you will lose…especially if you like rye whiskey.

Have you had McKenzie Rye Whiskey? What did you think? Leave a comment below to start the discussion.

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