This 100% rye-grain whisky is distilled in Alberta, then shipped to Sonoma, California for final touches. Finished in new American oak, batch PSA3 is one of the tastiest U.S. bottlings of Canadian rye ever. Soft caramels cushion ethereal honeysuckle, blackened firewood, and lusty rye spices on a framework of pulling oak tannins. Hugely complex, with new rewards in every sip.
A seamless fusion of rain-moistened earth, gunnysacks, and searing white pepper underpins the delicately bitter grain-like notes of fresh-baked rye bread. Lilacs and violets speak of rye grain, as do delicate cloves and tingling ginger, while dark stewed fruits attest to age. A mingling of hand-selected barrels of 10 year old all rye whisky, Masterson’s is redolent of vintage car leather and kiln-dried burley tobacco, with touches of dry herbs and spearmint. Sweet vanilla envelops early butterscotch.
Masterson’s bottles singular rye whisky. Yes, this 100% rye-grain whisky is sourced, but finishing by 3 Badge Beverage in French oak casks makes it their own. Booming, gingery spices cavort on a creamy, leathery, almost oily palate. Snappy sour pickles and vague herbal notes contrast pointedly with sweet vanilla and hints of milk chocolate, dried black fruit, and aromatic pipe tobacco.
Insights developed from four generations making fine California wine are applied brilliantly to Masterson’s 100% rye-grain whisky. Finishing in Hungarian oak barrels lends softness to warm glowing spices, ripe Bing cherries, Granny Smith apples, and cocoa powder. Sandalwood follows, then Humbugs, farmy notes, sweet grainy beer mash, fragrant esters, and candy canes, on a slippery palate. Long, spicy, vanilla finish.
Masterson’s 10 year old Straight Rye American Oak Finish (Barrel A2-062), 45%
Canadian | $65
A medley of well-integrated, bright flavors including acetone, green apples, soft floral perfume, vague tannins, sweet pipe tobacco, brown sugar, hints of spar varnish, fresh-cut wood, vanilla galore, soft well-integrated spices, and subdued white pepper. It feels like corn syrup, with hot spices on the sides of the tongue and hints of oak lumber throughout. Rich and full, yet light, fresh, and estery. Long, lingering, hot spices on a sweet, slightly fruity finish. Ends on cinnamon bark. (U.S. only)
Masterson’s 10 year old Straight Barley Whiskey, 50%
Canadian | $79
Straight, 100% unmalted barley whiskey. This must be a first in modern times. The huge nose gushes unusual aromas of fresh-turned earth, wet corn cobs, sour green apples, anise, cilantro, and dill. An herbal nose becomes an herbal palate bathed in soft crème brûlée and hot, peppery spices. Earthy notes turn pleasantly musty, like damp straw. Finishes long on Scottish porridge. Like all Masterson’s, this barley whiskey is from Alberta Distillers. And yes, Canadian whiskey with an “e.”
Masterson’s 10 year old Straight Rye (barrel #A2-052), 45%
Canadian | $60
A single barrel release, selected by Julio’s Loch & K(e)y society, focused very much on wood. An oak-forward nose features old split wood, pencil lead, and rye spice. On the palate the balance with oak improves slightly from the addition of brown sugar, vanilla, and cherry. Oak intensifies in the mid-palate, keeping some semblance of balance with the sweet undertones, but oak is clearly the star. A dry oak finish is the exclamation point at the end of this riff on wood. Sourced whiskey. (Julio’s Liquors only)
Masterson’s Straight Rye Whiskey Batch #3 10 year old, 45%
Rye Whiskey | $80.00
The third recently released 100% rye whiskey sourced from Canada, with the others being WhistlePig (50%, $70) and Jefferson’s (47%, $40). (The one you purchase might depend on which one you can find, as they are all quite limited.) This one sells at a premium to the other two, but shows polish and is nicely rounded. Layers of sweetness (honeyed fruit, caramel, nutty toffee, maple syrup), toasted oak, cinnamon, evergreen, nutmeg, and a dusting of cocoa. Very distinctive!
Masterson’s 12 year old Straight Wheat Whiskey, 50%
Canadian | $79
Canadian whisky makers tend to mash their grains separately, then blend them as mature spirits, allowing the individual grains to shine. This all-wheat whiskey was matured in used barrels, further accentuating these grain flavors. Sweet and light on the nose, the palate overflows with toffee and vanilla. Then, a vaguely earthy dryness follows glowing white pepper. Robust without the weight of corn, this luscious sipping whiskey provides guiltless pleasure with oodles of butterscotch custard, orange soda, and tingling spices.
Masterson’s 10 year old Straight Rye French Oak Finish (Barrel F2-038), 45%
Canadian | $65
Fruity with dried dates and figs, peaches, peach pits, purple plum pits, and hints of black licorice. Tingling cloves and ginger add zip to traces of bitter chewing tobacco. Powerful, firm, and drying with pulling tannins like a fine Bordeaux. While this is gorgeous whisky in its own right, the French oak flavors have overwhelmed the familiar clean, spicy, fruity base of the original Masterson’s on which it was built. (U.S. only)