Whiskey Review: Palm Ridge Rye

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a free sample to review by the party behind it. The Whiskey Wash, while appreciative of this, did keep full independent editorial control over this article.

Just outside of Umatilla, Florida, on an 80 acre cattle farm, Florida Farm Distillers is quietly churning out distinctive spirits in a converted 10-stall horse stable. Founded in 2008 and selling product since 2010, the distillery now makes three different whiskeys:

  • Palm Ridge Reserve Florida Whiskey, a bourbon-style whiskey
  • Palm Ridge Virgin, a new make white spirit
  • Palm Ridge Rye, the focus of this review

Introduced in December of 2014, Palm Ridge Rye is the newest addition to the Florida Farm Distillers family. The distillery got a lot of recent press for their Palm Ridge Reserve, with Jim Murray giving it a score of 94.5 in his 2015 Whiskey Bible, placing it in a category he calls “superstar whiskies that give us all a reason to live.” Heady praise for an operation that produces just 500 six-bottle cases a year!

This spirit is made from a mash bill that’s 70% rye, and distilled on Florida Farm Distillers’ 60-gallon reflux-column still and aged for about eight months in five gallon American oak barrels. Florida Farm Distillers uses single-pass distillation and opts not to chill filter its spirits,  both strategies that encourage full, grain-forward flavor.

Photo courtesy of Florida Farm Distillers

Photo courtesy of Florida Farm Distillers

Tasting Notes

Proof: 100

Color: Dark, reddish mahogany

Aroma: The initial aroma is startlingly savory, much like sherry or Shaoxing wine. With a little time, that dissipates to reveal an exceptionally fruity nose, almost reminiscent of grappa or fruit brandy.

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Palate:  Simultaneously sweet and savory, with strong fruit character as well as notes of chicken bouillon, violet, creamy butterscotch and cinnamon stick. This is a strange, very culinary whiskey that lacks a lot of the toasty aspects of the grain I’m accustomed to, but it’s also quite tasty.

Finish: Rather heavy, medium-length

This is an oddity, for sure, but it’s an interesting one that really grew on me. We’re all familiar with the spicy side of rye, but Palm Ridge Rye really showcases its fruity characteristics.

The entire Florida Farm Distillers line is available online here; the Rye is selling for about $50 for a 750ml bottle, not a bad value for a spirit that’s obviously the product of a lot of hands-on work and careful attention. For its honest pricing, production integrity, and intriguing flavor profile, I give Palm Ridge Rye 80 points.

 

 

 

 

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Margarett Waterbury

Margarett Waterbury is the author of Scotch: A Complete Introduction to Scotland's Whiskies and a full-time freelance writer and editor. Her work has appeared in Whisky Advocate, Food and Wine, Spirited Magazine, Artisan Spirit, Edible Seattle, Sip Northwest, Civil Eats, Travel Oregon, Artisan Spirit, and many other publications. She is...