Said to be Al Capone’s favorite drink, this whiskey was named “Rye Whiskey of the Year” by the Whisky Bible.
$49.99 Retail Price
Proof: 80 (40% ABV)
Distiller: Templeton Rye Spirits
Availability: This product is not available in AK, DE, HI, MA, MN, NH, PA, SD or TX.
A dry nose of rye spice, oak and brown sugar. Hints of butterscotch, caramel and toffee give way to hints of spicy rye. Finishes with a great balance — bold but smooth at the same time.
When Prohibition outlawed the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages in 1920, a few enterprising residents of Iowa chose to become outlaws rather than teetotalers. Alphonse Kerkhoff, a farmer by trade, began cooking batches of rye whiskey near his home in Templeton to supplement his income. “The Good Stuff,” as Kerkhoff’s rye was known, was so popular that he began tying a white horse named Babe to a pole in his front yard as a signal to residents that another batch of Templeton Rye was ready.
Shortly thereafter, Kerkhoff partnered with notorious bootlegger Al Capone to distribute his rye across the country. Capone bootlegged hundreds of barrels of Templeton Rye to speakeasies in New York, Chicago and as far west as San Francisco — legend has it that he even had a case smuggled into his jail cell at Alcatraz.
Following Prohibition, Kerkhoff continued to cook Templeton Rye for his friends and family, before eventually passing the recipe on to his son, Meryl. Today, nearly a century after it was first distilled, Templeton Rye is cooked using the same recipe by Keith Kerkhoff, Alfonse’s grandson.
Templeton Rye is made from a variety of winter and spring rye grains that possess specific organoleptic qualities. The rye (which comprises over 90% of the mashbill, with the remainder being malted barley) is fermented for 72-84 hours using a proprietary yeast culture that was developed specifically for whiskey production. After fermentation, the mash is double-distilled and then aged in charred, American white oak casks (sourced from a Missouri cooperage) for a minimum of four years.
The extreme temperatures in Templeton, Iowa, create a unique environment for aging whiskey. Iowa’s hot summers, cold winters and wet springs (monthly average temperatures range from a high of 86.2° F to a low of 6.3° F) result in more contact between the whiskey and the oak, helping the whiskey mature faster and giving it more complexity and flavor.
Templeton Rye earned the Gold Medal at the 2009 and 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and was named “Rye Whiskey of the Year” in the 2009 Whisky Bible. It also earned the title “Best of Whiskey” at the 2008 Los Angeles Wine and Spirits Competition, beating out more than 4,000 other entrants in the competition.
Now that Prohibition is over, you can enjoy Templeton Rye conspicuously.