Whiskey Review: Few Rye Whiskey - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Few Rye Whiskey

Evanston Illinois’ long and complicated history with alcohol began in the 1850s when the state of Illinois began construction of Northwestern University and what would later become the town of Evanston. The city passed a law prohibiting the sale of alcohol within four miles of the university, in order to protect students’ delicate moral sensibilities. The city of Evanston also served as the seat of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, which played a critical role in enacting prohibition nationwide. The movement was spearheaded by Northwestern’s own President, Frances E. Willard, and respectfully, that is where Few Spirits, makers of Few Rye Whiskey, found its namesake. 

The Whiskey Wash reviewed a bottle of Few Rye Whiskey in 2015, and we decided to revisit the spirit in 2017. Few Spirits is a truly small-batch distillery. The company ferments, distills and ages everything on-site, and produces limited batches of each spirit. Their Rye Whiskey has won several gold medals from international competitions. Few was the first distiller of grain spirits in the city due to Evanston’s rocky relationship with liquor.

After nearly a century of Prohibition, capitalism prevailed and the city permitted the sale of alcohol in Evanston in 1972. Fast forward to 2011, and Few Spirits is born, bringing local, small-batch spirits to the county for the first time.

Whiskey Review: Few Rye Whiskey

Vital stats: My bottle was from batch number one, and was bottle number two from the Lugnuts barrel. The spirit is 46.5% abv, and 93 proof. Each batch is aged in new charred American Oak barrels for less than four years. A bottle costs around $60.

Appearance: Legs are spindly and long. It takes its time hanging out on the side of the glass.

Nose: The smell leads with grass and heavy rye. It’s also woody and oaky, with lightly sweet charcoal and grass again.

Palate: The flavor is all in the front, with less complexity on the back-end. It also has a heavy mouthfeel, and feels almost oily. I expected a smooth bite at the finish, but it is just mellows out into some oaky sweetness, which was underwhelming. There were notes of rye and a very earthy grassiness. 

The Takeaway

I really liked Few Spirits’ branding - they have really nice art on all their bottles. I also appreciate that they make everything from scratch. It makes each bottle feel special and unique. I wasn’t a huge fan of the rye whiskey - the finish was a little short, perhaps a function of its relatively young age - but there were some very nice earthy and grassy notes, and a lovely mouth-feel. If nothing else, I'm now excited to try their bourbon and gins.

3.5
User Rating 2.7 (10 votes)
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