Whisky Review: The Gospel Straight Rye Whiskey

, | April 30, 2022

Editor’s Note: This whisky was provided to us as a review sample by The Gospel. 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.

I have to start this off by sharing the complete absurdity (in the best possible way) of the press kit that came with this bottle of The Gospel Straight Rye Whiskey. It included a letter on acetate in a font to make it look like it was typed up on an old-school typewriter. A photo of Hugh Jackman to show me what an Australian looks like while clearly stating he has nothing to do with this whiskey and does not endorse it. A bottle of sunscreen should I come to Australia and need some protection. And a cassette tape, something I have still not listened to as I haven’t owned a cassette player since trading in my 2000 Suzuki Esteem. This was my first introduction to what The Gospel distillery is all about.

The Gospel is a distillery in Melbourne, Australia. Their press kit felt perfect for something coming out of Melbourne. Melbourne remains my favorite city in Australia even though I only spent a day there out of my year-long working-holiday visa. A day that I managed to fit visits to a total of eight bars and breweries. This kit from The Gospel perfectly captures the eccentric, passionate, and hospitable city that I experienced in my visit. What also stood out to me is how largely removed this marketing is from the bottle. The bottle itself is very plain, with a simple label and plain lettering. It makes no statement, makes no effort at being the star of the back bar, it is a simple and efficient design.

The Gospel got started in 2019. They have an extensive and interesting read on their Master Distiller, Ian Thorn, who helped them get set up with the intention of finding someone to take over before finally deciding he would run operations. If you care to read about some of his thought process and experimentation, the lower third of the article on Ian is quite fascinating.

Their process is pretty clearly laid out on their website here. To summarize, they start with rye from a single farm in Murray Mallee. The unmalted rye is ground and then processed in their mash tun before being moved to their fermentation tanks for a few days. After fermentation they do a pass in their six foot column still and a second distillation in their copper pot still. Their new make is then aged in two different systems; their solera rye is barrel aged in a five tier solera system, and their straight rye is aged a minimum of two years in new American charred oak (at varying levels of char). Things are then blended, filtered, and bottled per batch.

Something that comes up in several spots on their website is that they never aimed to make a rye like American ryes. I can confirm, they did not. This product captures a regional style that is all its own.

The Gospel Straight Rye Whiskey review

The Gospel Straight Rye Whiskey (image via Ian Arnold)

Tasting Notes: The Gospel Straight Rye Whiskey

Vital Stats: 45% ABV, 100% Australian un-malted rye, aged a minimum of two years in charred new American oak barrels. $50 per 750ml bottle. 

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Appearance: Clear honey in color with thick slow legs.

Nose: This smells like a cup of black tea and honey. There are some other herbal notes that don’t quite become pronounced enough to move past just being something mixed in with the black tea scent. There is also a bit of yeast on the nose. I really enjoy how this smells.

Palate: Clean and crisp are the first two thoughts on drinking this. Flavors largely match the nose with some other subtleties. I get that tea and honey flavor throughout with subtle baking spices, lemon oil, and black pepper. The finish has a very light burn to it with the tannin sitting with me. A few drops of water and this feels much thicker on the palate, flavors still stay light and are more of a honey brushed pastry, not so sweet and a bit more mild in flavor. The finish has a touch of mint after the addition of water.

5

Summary

This is a fantastic product. This isn’t at all what I think of when I think about rye whiskey making it so I can’t really compare it to other ryes I hold in high regard. It is bright, clean, and crisp with enough depth that I have enjoyed going back for another pour. It doesn’t need water added to be enjoyed but can certainly take it. Another Australian distillery to keep an eye on, I suggest grabbing a bottle (or three) if you can. 

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