Whiskey Review: Kooper Family Runaway Rye

, | September 25, 2022

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Kooper Family Whiskey. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

What started out as a whiskey-making hobby eventually became a brave new venture for Kooper Family Whiskey Company’s founder and master blender husband and wife team, Troy and Michelle Kooper. Their 100% family owned and operated distillery based in Ledbetter, Texas, started operations in 2012. Three years later, the Koopers sourced their first 175 gallons of unaged whiskey right off the still from Koval Distillery in Chicago. After letting it age in Texas for three years they then bottled and presented their distillery’s first whiskey expression, Kooper Family 100% Rye Whiskey.

Shortly after that they started experimenting with blending their own whiskey with that of another sourced from Tennessee, which led to the Kooper Family Whiskey Company becoming the first traditional whiskey blending house in Texas. Ultimately, Troy and Michelle intend to pass down their craft of traditional whiskey blending to future generations of Koopers. 

Kooper Family Runaway Rye is a limited edition straight rye whiskey with a mash bill of 51% rye, 36% corn, and 13% malt. It was aged for a total of 8 years and 9 months and matured in the three different climate zones of the American South. The barrels were first aged for three years in the humid subtropical climate of Tennessee before moving to the Texas Hill Country, home of the Kooper Family facility in Dripping Springs, Texas. There it aged for another two years in a semi-arid climate. Its final aging destination was the humid subtropical climate of historic Fayette County, Texas, where it aged for five more years before being bottled at 100 proof.

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The Kooper Family Whiskey Company won two awards in the Best Texas Whiskey 2020 season of the Texas Whiskey Festival. These winning categories included Best Bottled/Aged in Texas Bourbon for their Kooper Family Whiskey Sweetheart of the Rodeo, endearingly named after Michelle Kooper; and for Bottled/Aged in Texas Rye, Kooper Family Texas Rye.

Kooper Family Runaway Rye was released in August 2022 with distribution limited to Texas and California.

Kooper Family Runaway Rye review

Kooper Family Runaway Rye (image via Jennifer Williams/The Whiskey Wash)

Tasting Notes: Kooper Family Runaway Rye

Vital Stats: Aged 8 years, 100 proof (50%ABV), mash bill: 51% rye, 36% corn, and 13% malt. 750 ml bottle MSRP $70. 

Appearance: Tawny

Nose: It has a refreshingly clean, earthy aroma with notes of fresh cut grass, toffee pudding, citrus, and leather. 

Palate: Kooper Family Runaway Rye offers a low burn on the palate with woody, spicy vanilla, and smoky oak flavors that dominate the palate, with undertones of sandalwood, sweet raisins, and a hint of tobacco.

4

Summary

This is a complex and nicely balanced rye whiskey with an approachable sweet and woody flavor profile. The well rounded flavor notes of vanilla, spice, citrus, and toffee contribute to a tasty medium to long finish, which also makes it a great contender for mixing in hand crafted cocktails. While it could be slightly smoother, it’s still a solid choice for sipping neat or on the rocks.

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Jennifer Williams

Jennifer Williams is a former Dallas, Texas bartender of 15 years where she developed an appreciation for patrons with a healthy respect for great whiskey. She moved to Portland, Oregon in 2019 where she graduated from Portland State University as an English Literature major with a minor in Writing. While...