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Uncle Nearest Uncut/Unfiltered Rye




Whiskey Review: Uncle Nearest Uncut/Unfiltered Rye Whiskey

Tasting Notes:

59.8% ABV, 119.7 proof. MSRP $149.99, distillery exclusive.
Old Gold or wood sap with slow thin legs.
A big hit of rye spice followed by Christmas spices. I found cinnamon, pear, and wheat, all floating through a nice blanket of alcohol. The back end of the nose was typical oak and char. Very clean nose, pleasant.
You are hit with that lovely rye spice right out of the gate. It mellows into walnut, with a long warmth before turning into a burn. Upon the second and third tastes I found charcoal, worn leather, and oak. The mouthfeel is not as oily as I would have expected, but not too watery either. The finish is dry and causes a little puckering. With successive breaths, I found some peanut funk, sweet caramel, and a clean dryness of the tongue. The finish wasn’t long and eventually the smooth warming turned into a solid burn.
The whiskey here is a fine example of rye whiskey, but to be a truly excellent rye it needs more. Rye is a delightful fruity grain with delicate punches to really push the profile. I found the whiskey didn’t push the envelope for me, and I found myself wanting a bit more from the glass. Each sip only revealed a little more about the whiskey, and I didn’t find myself really wanting to revisit it. It is a nice whiskey, and I probably wouldn’t turn down another glass if offered. However, there are other whiskeys I’d reach for first.

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Uncle Nearest. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.

The history of American whiskey is a complex tapestry. For some newer companies, distilling is a passion project turned full-time career.

I know of one case of a local distillery in my home state whose founders were teachers and administrators before quitting to open a distillery. However, when we look at the big picture of whiskey history, we are missing very important parts of that tapestry. I believe representation matters, and Uncle Nearest Whiskey is doing its part in weaving the missing pieces.

Uncle Nearest Whiskey – Rewriting Whiskey History

If you aren’t familiar with the history of Uncle Nearest (or Nathan Green), you should get acquainted with the legacy of the emancipated African American man who taught Jack Daniels to distill. Uncle Nearest is literally rewriting the history of whiskey in the United States. At the very least the brand is shining a light on an overlooked or intentionally forgotten part of Tennessee whiskey. I won’t dive too deeply into that here. Better writers than me have done an incredible job capturing the beautiful legend of Nearest Green and his relationship with Jack Daniels, and Tennessee Whiskey.

“Today, we continue celebrating the legacy of Nearest Green, the godfather of Tennessee whiskey, with the newest addition to our Master Blend Edition Portfolio: Uncle Nearest Uncut/Unfiltered Straight Rye Whiskey, our first rye expression,” says Fawn Weaver, founder and CEO. “This rye represents the favorite barrels of Victoria Eady Butler, our master blender and fifth generation Nearest Green descendant and four-time Master Blender of the Year recipient.”

Under the tutelage of Fawn Weaver, Uncle Nearest has accumulated over 550 awards since its inception in 2017. You will find two standard offerings, a small batch, and an aged Uncle Nearest whiskey. Recently the whiskey brand has launched its Master’s Blend series. A distillery exclusive, this release is an uncut and unfiltered rye whiskey.

Curiously, Tennessee is apparently terrible for growing rye grain. The bottle says: “Product of Canada, aged in New York and Tennessee.” The whiskey is aged for four years in New York before being transported to Tennessee for further aging and bottling. Victoria Eady Butler is quoted as saying, “My great-great-grandfather was known for his whiskey filtration method. But this 100% rye is so spectacular, we dared not cut or filter it.” If Ms. Butler didn’t want to disturb this whiskey, it doesn’t need to be disturbed.

“For those unable to make it to Shelbyville, there will be more rye to come from Uncle Nearest in the coming months, including a Straight Rye and Single Barrel Rye,” says Weaver. With that, we turn to the glass.

Charles Steele

Charles Steele is a Portland area attorney, born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. His legal education affords him an analytical approach to understanding whiskey and other aged spirits. Traditionally a legal writer, freelancing for The Whiskey Wash will prove a unique opportunity to flex his writing skills. Although he prefers whiskey and whiskey based cocktails, he has a profound affection for all unique and strange liquors from Malort to Ojen, if it's odd he wants it.

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