By Michael Cervin
Castle & Key is a revitalized Kentucky distillery, built in 1887. Originally known as the Old Taylor Distillery built by the legendary Colonel E.H. Taylor, Castle & Key started with vodka and gin, as well as releasing sourced whiskeys, while they waited for their own to mature. Whiskey fans have been waiting for more than four years, and now the first one is finally here: Restoration Rye. With a mash bill of 63% rye, 20% malt and 17% yellow corn, you’d expect to get overwhelming rye notes. And you do. Interestingly, it lacks the sweetness far too many other brown spirits seem to have these days, and that’s a good thing. So, no cloying viscosity.
Restoration clocks in at 103 proof, though that proof point will be variable with further batches down the road. The team at Castle & Key is doing the right thing in not creating a homogenized flavor profile. The rye is aged an average of just under four years.
Color: Amber hued with light golden highlights – a classic bourbon look.
Nose: The nose is light, but offers butter toffee, caramel, candied amber, orange marmalade, crème brulee.
Palate: The initial surge is of sweet resin and candied amber and classic rye spice, showing it’s not too sweet. The mid palate fills out with the orange marmalade, butter toffee and crème brulee notes along with a spicy highlights, and back notes of red delicious apple, cracked black pepper, brown sugar and citrus zest. It provides a lengthy and satisfying finish. The end result is a pretty good, young rye whiskey that is definitely worth its price tag.
The SRP is really supposed to be $39.99, but various outlets have it, in some cases, $10 higher. It’s reasonable to expect that the price will climb slightly given the long awaited release.