GSN Presents: The 2017 Advent Gift Guide – Day 23

With only two days to go until Christmas Eve, there’s not enough time to order gifts.  So, until then, we’re going to suggest some items that we’ve rated highly this year that you can find in your local liquor store (hopefully).  For Day 23, we’re focusing on the 30 spirited products that received a GSN Rating of A (93) during 2017.

  1. Amarula Cream Liqueur
  2. Corbin Cash Sweet Potato Liqueur
  3. Deadhead Dark Chocolate Rum
  4. Don Ciccio & Figli Nocino Walnut Liqueur
  5. Don Ciccio & Figli Amaro delle Sirene
  6. Dunedin DoubleCask 16 Year Old
  7. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch No. A117
  8. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch No. B517
  9. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch No. C917
  10. El Tesoro 80th Anniversary Limited Edition
  11. Frisco Brandy
  12. Galliano L’Aperitivo
  13. Haikara Yuzu Sake
  14. Highland Park Valkyrie
  15. Hirsch Small Batch 8 Year Old High Rye Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  16. Jura 10-Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  17. Kavalan Pedro Ximénez Single Cask Whisky
  18. Laphroaig Cairdeas Quarter Cask 2017 Edition
  19. Lucid Absinthe
  20. The Macallan Edition No. 1
  21. The Macallan Edition No. 2
  22. Tap 357 Maple Rye Whisky
  23. Marble Distilling Co. Vodka
  24. Marble Distilling Co. Gingercello
  25. McKenzie Single Barrel Rye Whiskey
  26. Montanya Exclusiva Rum
  27. Redemption Wheated Bourbon
  28. South Island 25 Year Old Single Malt
  29. Union Horse Rolling Standard Four Grain Whiskey
  30. Westland Distillery’s 2017 Peat Week Commemorative Bottling

GSN Review: McKenzie Single Barrel Rye Whiskey

In 2015, six leading New York State distilleries banded together to create a consortium dedicated to establishing a whiskey style for the Empire State. This whiskey was to be as distinctive, precisely crafted and held to as high a standard as any of the illustrious whiskey styles in the world.

And so, Empire Rye was born–an homage to New York State’s pre-Prohibition rye whiskey-making heritage and a testament to the ingenuity and industriousness of its contemporary distillers. Each distiller’s bottling of Empire Rye is crafted in accordance with the same exacting specifications and yet each is given ample space to express their creativity. Finger Lakes Distilling recently released their McKenzie Single Barrel Rye Whiskey to celebrate. In time, the hope is that more New York distillers will choose to produce a rye whiskey in accordance with these standards and make the category of Empire Rye known throughout the world.

What are the requirements to make Empire Rye?

-It must conform to the New York Farm Distiller (Class D) requirement that 75% of the mash bill be New York grain; in this instance that 75% MUST be New York State-grown rye grain, which may be raw, malted or a combination.

-The remaining 25% of the mash bill may be composed of any raw or malted grain, New York-grown or otherwise, or any combination thereof.

-Distilled to no more than 160 proof.

-Aged for a minimum of two years in charred, new oak barrels at not more than 115 proof at time of entry.

-Must be mashed, fermented, distilled, barreled and aged at a single New York State distillery in a single distilling season (The period from January 1 through June 30, is the spring season and the period from July 1 through December 31 is the fall season).

-A blended whisky containing no less than 100% qualifying Empire Rye whiskies from multiple distilleries may be called Blended Empire Rye.

McKenzie Single Barrel Rye Whiskey (101.1 proof)
Visual: Dark gold.
Nose: Heady rye spice balanced with fresh-cut oak stave. Some slight hints of young caramel and vanilla. Late autumn in a glass.
Taste: Very tight mash bill which opens up slightly with a cube of ice. Intensely rich and flavorful spice, sweetness and warmth all at once. There is a sherry-like sweetness which keeps things from being a spice bomb.
Finish: Long with dried plum, golden raisin, soft rye bread and baking spice.
Overall: It gets better with every sip.  Try this in a Sazerac, Vieux Carre or Boulevardier for an amazing expression. A phenomenal craft spirit from one of the first of New York State’s 21st century distilleries.
GSN Rating: A

For more information go to: Empire Rye and Finger Lakes Distilling