Whiskey Review Round Up: Finger Lakes Distilling McKenzie Whiskeys - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review Round Up: Finger Lakes Distilling McKenzie Whiskeys

Editor’s Note: These whiskeys were provided to us as review samples by Finger Lakes Distilling. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.

The McKenzie line up of whiskies comes from Finger Lakes Distilling in Burdett, New York. They have a focus on whiskey and local ingredients. Finger Lakes believes that aging the whiskies at a lower proof preserves more flavor from these local grains. These whiskeys are also aged at 100 proof vs 110-125 as are most other whiskies. The barrels vary by whiskey.

Not only is Finger Lakes Distilling a distillery but they are also a New York State Farm Distillery. It’s all about traditional, hand crafted spirits. They believe in sustainability and honest products and services. There’s no shortcuts in what they do, only an attention to detail and transparency to their customers.

Along with these three cask aged whiskies McKenzie also makes a white dog and bottled-in-bond wheated whiskey. They as well recently released a 10.5 year old American single malt.

Finger Lakes Distilling McKenzie Whiskeys

Finger Lakes Distilling McKenzie Whiskeys (image via Melissa Jones/The Whiskey Wash)

Tasting Notes: McKenzie Bourbon

Vital Stats: 91 proof; 750 ml; 70% corn, 20% rye, 10% malted barley; aged in charred American oak, finished in ex-chardonnay casks; $44

Appearance: Burnt Amber

Nose: It smells of honey and hints of vanilla and maple leaves.

Palate: It is quite complex, pleasantly warm with hints of citrus, caramel, and cardamom that go down very smooth.

Final Thoughts: This bourbon is better with a touch of water as it cools it down a bit so you notice the more complex bouquet of flavors.

Score: 4/5

Tasting Notes: McKenzie Pure Pot Still

Vital Stats: 80 proof; 750 ml; unmalted barley, malted barley and oats; aged in their old bourbon and rye barrels; $44

Appearance: Tawny

Nose: This whiskey is very hot with a smell of turpentine and citrus. It’s not the most pleasant smell at first but I warmed up to it after a few sips.

Palate: There are flavors of caramel, snickerdoodle, cinnamon and lemon. The aftertaste is bitter.

Final Thoughts: It’s a simple whiskey with a citrus rind aftertaste that’s a bit rough around the edges. Hot whiskey is not my normal choice but I do like that this one still has sweet notes like that of a traditional irish whiskey made from a single pot still.

Score: 3/5

Tasting Notes: McKenzie Rye

Vital Stats: 91 proof; 750 ml; aged in new charred oak casks and finished in sherry barrels from local wineries; $43

Appearance: Light Amber

Nose: This rye whiskey has a very pleasant smell of overripe pears that are very sweet yet still light.

Palate: McKenzie Rye is very well balanced and smooth. It’s got heavy, earthy, fruit flavor.

Final Thoughts: It’s not very bright or hot which is nice. There is a rich fruity flavor that makes it very drinkable. It’s smooth and goes down easy. I would love to sip on this one for an evening.

Score: 4.5/5