Whiskey Review: Masterson’s 10 Year Old Rye Whiskey

Masterson's 10 Year Old Rye WhiskeyEditor’s Note: We’ve just launched sign ups for our upcoming The Whiskey Wash newsletterClick here to join our list and stay informed!

Like many popular Canadian-distilled whiskies that end up rebottled for the American market, Masterson’s Straight Rye Whiskey has done its darndest to not appear Canadian. Apparently pot-distilled from Pacific NW rye and Rocky Mountain glacial water, it is aged in white oak for 10 years before being imported and bottled in California.

Masterson’s owner, Bottler 35 Maple Street (3 Badge Beverage Corporation as of January 2016) also produces a 12-year-old wheat and a 10-year-old barley whiskey under the Masterson’s name. 3 Badge also offers a similarly kitschy, old-timey gin named Uncle Val’s, Kirk & Sweeney Rum, and Bib & Tucker Bourbon.

Apparently named after an American bastion of butch, Bat Masterson, Masterson’s is yet another whiskey that aims to lure consumers to glaze past its sourcing and focus on its story. Branding issues aside, Masterson’s remains a 10-year-old straight rye whiskey, which are few and far between.

Tasting Notes:

Appearance: Masterson’s 10 Year straight rye appears medium-light caramel in the glass.

Nose: Very grain-forward on the nose: sweet cereal, Frosted Flakes, and caramel corn pop out. Hot breakfast cereal builds, making for a creamy nose. Canned fruit salad and cherry lollipop add a certain fruity element. The creamy grain of the nose transforms into very toasty wood after some time in the glass.

Palate: The warm grain of the nose follows through to the palate, leading with toast, milled grain or grist, and Cream of Wheat. The medium-light body underscores the controlled, mild nature of the spirit. Slightly grassy, fresh, and polished. From start to finish, the palate remains very, very breakfast-y. The overwhelming element throughout is that creamy, mild breakfast cereal warmth. The only true trace of typical rye force is a very slight white pepper note in the finish, which is quite short and creamy.

Conclusion:

Certainly a testament to what aging can do to a rye, Masterson’s is a clean, subtle, grain-forward expression. Discounting its sourcing may be beneficial to truly enjoying this spirit, considering the lack of clear information out there about it. For scoring purposes, however, I could not.

FINAL SCORE: 90/100 [SHOP FOR A BOTTLE OF MASTERSON’S 10 YEAR OLD RYE WHISKEY]

About the author

Savannah Weinstock

I am a graduate of Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR whose Environmental Studies thesis focused on “Scotch Whisky, Sustainability, and Commodification of Nature & Culture”. While writing my thesis, I spent time living and studying in Glasgow, Scotland where I visited and interviewed distilleries nationwide, concentrating on the Hebridean Isles. I am currently working in the industry getting up-close and personal with whisk(e)y, spirits, and cocktails every day.