Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Cedar Ridge. 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.
Ever consider what the whiskey you drink says about you? Back when I was a bartender, I often saw what people ordered as a sign of if they were educated about what they were drinking. Essentially it came down to if they were drinking something that was marketed to them, or something that they actually saw quality in and enjoyed. I would say about two thirds of people drank for the marketing, and I’ll be honest, the stories helped me sell pours to people as well. But more and more, whiskey brands pop up as lifestyle brands as opposed to establishing quality distillery operations.
The Beverly High Rye, as I see it, is a lifestyle brand. The Beverly was founded by CEO Andrew Borenzweig. Andrew’s previous experience was as the Director of Business Development at Virginia Black, Drake’s whiskey brand. It’s not surprising that after watching the success of a sourced whiskey one might find a way to make their own brand. The Beverly is blended and bottled at Cedar Ridge in Iowa.
The Beverly High Rye, in their own words, “meets the preferences of millennials who desire spirits that are “delicious, smooth tasting and stylish” (Nielsen), with a driving preference for high-quality premium brands.” It is blended from straight rye and straight bourbon that are sourced from Iowa and Indiana. This makes it an American whiskey, not a rye whiskey. They claim a mash bill of a majority rye, but there is no information on the full mash bill available.
Portland bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler appears to have done some consulting work for them as well. They have a full page of cocktail recipes featuring The Beverly High Rye curated by Morgenthaler. While I didn’t make any of the drinks here, I did decide to try this in a cocktail. One of my all-time favorite cocktails is a Black Manhattan, so naturally I chose to try it out with The Beverly High Rye. While it was a good cocktail, it was quite a bit sweeter than what I normally choose for this drink. In my mind a Black Manhattan should have a rich spice and slight bitter herbal quality to it. The Beverly High Rye turned it into a sweeter style drink with no bitter edge; it was too smooth for what I wanted from my cocktail. I think the drinks Morgenthaler put together are much more geared towards this whiskey’s flavor profile.
But I’m not really here to talk about The Beverly High Rye’s success in cocktails, am I? So, let’s get to the important question. How does it taste out of the bottle?
Tasting Notes: The Beverly High Rye
Vital Stats: 48% ABV. Blend of straight rye and straight bourbon from Iowa and Indiana.
Appearance: This is a clear golden honey color and forms thick long legs on the glass.
Nose: There is heavy oak on the nose. The oak is backed up with a light caramel sweetness, a bit of black pepper spice, and just a hint of lemon oil.
Palate: This is overall a sweet rye, there is a caramel and vanilla quality from the front of the palate all the way through to the finish. Little bit of lemon peel on the front that comes back in the finish. The mid palate is complemented by a black pepper spice. The oak from the nose really comes through on the finish and lingers.
This is a fine sipper that made for a fantastic cocktail. Even though it is a bit sweeter than what I want a neat, majority-rye whiskey, it is still enjoyable. The sweetness plays very nicely in softening a spirit-forward rye drink, making it a bit more approachable.