There was a time when, if you asked anyone about American whiskey, they would tell you about Bourbon, but the fact is, rye is the original American spirit, but Prohibition caused rye to fall from favour for decades.
Now, as whiskey enjoys a continued global revolution and premiumisation drives growth in the category, people are exploring more, which means distilleries are looking at more and more premium products.
Like bourbon, rye has been championed by the global bartending community for the past several years and we’re seeing more and more rye-forward cocktails on bar menus. A popular bartending trend has been to revisit pre-Prohibition recipes, and so a lot of rye-driven cocktails were re-discovered.
This has helped to drive consumer engagement and desire for rye. The other factor in the rise of rye is that as part of the whiskey revolution consumers are more curious and more open to experimentation. Occasions like World Whisky Day see consumers try different whiskies and experiment with premium products.
There are a couple of statistics that show just how much rye is rising in the US. In 2009, revenue from rye in the US totalled about $15 million, by 2018 that had risen to $205 million. Put another way, overall rye whiskey production in 2010 was around 100,000 barrels and it is now more than one million barrels.
On account of the rise in rye and continued premiumisation of the category, Wild Turkey decided to release the longest aged rye it has ever produced.
The Master’s Keep Cornerstone Rye is a perfectly balanced, high-aged rye whiskey that exquisitely showcases Wild Turkey’s signature bold and spicy flavours.
Master Distiller, Eddie Russell, explains the reasoning behind using rye whiskies aged between nine and 12 years for the Cornerstone Rye.
“Historically, rye whiskeys are only aged for around four years, but with the Master’s Keep series, I wanted to explore what flavours and complexity longer aging can give our whiskeys,” Eddie said.
“This is the oldest rye we’ve ever released by quite a few years. It’s important to remember that age isn’t always an indicator of a better, more expensive spirit. If you age too long, you lose those flavours, that spice, that vanilla, black pepper and toasted rye.
“We’ve always been dedicated to Rye. We saw that, slowly but surely, bartenders and consumers were rediscovering an appreciation for rye, so it felt like a great time to innovate on the American classic and release an expression that plays around with a higher aged rye.”
Eddie said: “Wild Turkey was one of the few legacy distilleries that remained loyal to crafting rye even as vodka and gin became the new, hot thing.
“Cornerstone Rye celebrates our continued commitment to the grain.”
The Cornerstone Rye is an unmistakable nod to the iconic Wild Turkey flavour profile which delivers notes of warm vanilla, black pepper and toasted rye, followed by a cascade of honey and baked apple.
It is the perfect choice for a World Whisky Day drink, with a finish that is bold, crisp and clean, with lingering notes of sweet spice and oak. It also offers an enticing and spirited aroma.
Master’s Keep Cornerstone Rye at 109 proof (54.5 alc. by volume), will be a limited release with only 3000 bottles of this unique spirit available for purchase in Australia. The whiskey will be available at Dan Murphy’s and good independent whiskey retailers for RRP $250 per 750 mL bottle. For additional information, please visit www.wildturkeybourbon.com.au.