Whiskey Review: Iowa Legendary Rye Double Barreled Private Reserve - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Iowa Legendary Rye Double Barreled Private Reserve

Editor’s Note: This review sample came to us courtesy of Rackhouse Whiskey Club. We maintain full editorial control over this article.

A little over three years ago, I was in Iowa—my first and only time. As the plane descended into Cedar Rapids, I was struck by how orderly everything seemed from the air: Farms parceled out into tidy, methodical plots. You hear about crop circles, but everything I saw was very much at right angles. It looked just as clean-cut once we touched down, too.

But, hey: This isn’t about me, or air travel: It’s about the Iowa Legendary Rye Double Barreled Private Reserve whiskey. But to describe this whiskey is to reflect back at those very neat rows of grain and grass, everything in its proper place—and then to compare it with the moonshiney history of this product: As we reported last September, Iowa Legendary distiller Rich Eggers learned to distill at home, a somewhat illegal hobby he learned from a Iowan neighbor who practiced moonshining. Nice to see a darker underbelly, sometimes.

Today’s whiskey is totally above-board, however! According to their site, Iowa Legendary rye whiskies are made with 100 percent organic rye grain from local farmers. All of their whiskey is small-batch and made onsite; they make several different ryes, including Aged Rye (that we previously reviewed) that has been aged at least 18 months; Double Barreled Rye; and White Rye.

Iowa Legendary Rye (image via Rackhouse Whiskey Club)

Tasting Notes: Iowa Legendary Rye Double Barreled Private Reserve

Vital stats: Bottle 10, Batch 10; 100 percent rye; 80 proof; about $45.

Appearance: A light, yet fibrous gold. The color of that strong, manila paper from elementary school, which could withstand the hardest of crayon handlers or magic marker mashers.

Nose: Not so overpowering that when I opened the bottle it knocked me over, but it is a bit…uncompromising. There is cedar, and evergreen. A little tobacco. It recalls the woods—like someone trying to get a fire going in a damp forest. It’s not moldy, but each scent is distinct. It actually smells a bit like affable, faded aftershave.

Palate: Like the appearance, it’s also light on the palate. Cinnamon, a little pear. But I wanted more: The nose promises something that doesn’t deliver on taste. It’s clean-tasting and not difficult to get down. It doesn’t taste at all cereal-like or grainy, but it also doesn’t have that kind of chewy, umami quality that I like in a good whiskey, especially rye.

It doesn’t surprise me that the roots of this are in moonshine; even though it’s been double-barreled and aged, it still tastes rushed to me. And yet neat and orderly: This tastes very light and unassuming and…almost proper?

The Takeaway

It's not bad. It doesn’t burn, but it also doesn’t sing. It's forgettable--so inoffensive as to be meek. This is the rental car of rye: It’s fine, will get you to your destination, but will also likely shudder and jerk and complain when you’re trying to pass a semi on the highway. And when you’re trying to find it in a parking lot, you’ll forget which is yours.

3.0
User Rating 5 (1 vote)
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About the author

Carin Moonin

A decade ago, I traded a 5th floor walkup in Hoboken, NJ for a house in SE Portland and remain grateful for the swap. Portland’s a great whiskey town: It fits the weather and my general mood (even improves it sometimes). I enjoy exploring the many shades of brown liquor and learning what it can do for me. I’ve written for publications including Salon.com, DailyDot.com, Willamette Week, Portland Monthly, and more. When I’m not drinking whiskey or writing about it, I can be found running, reading, or seeking out free samples in grocery stores.