"This vibrant rye just breathes originality, enthusiasm and innovation, and importantly it is very tasty"
(Photo from Whiskybase)
After a few American spirit reviews that have not excited us entirely, I think it is time to go back a distillery that has pleased me in the past with several of their releases. Although, FEW Spirits advertises that is made “by the few for the few”, it is pretty much available all around the Netherlands, or Europe if you want. That is to say their standard Bourbon and Rye. The cask strength version of their rye whisky that we have on review today is much more difficult to find. In fact, I heard that the Dutch importers did not include it their portfolio since they were convinced that it would not be sold around here. Well, they foolishly have not tasted it properly then.
As expected, a full array of rye spices flows into the nose, however, it is certainly not overpowering. There is some sweetness, some young wood, nuts, and the strawberry note that I always get in young rye. More strawberry sweets and rose jelly appear. The wood gets somewhat in the way at this point. There is also a hint of orange zest, spiced coffee, other citrus fruits, potpourri and sweet tea. Overall the nose is pleasant, fairly rich and definitely interesting, despite the heavy youngish wood.
The first word that come into my mind is vibrant. Very busy in the mouth with rye, faint fruits, pumpkin seed toast, multiple spices and a hint of yam. The youthful virbrancy is quite refreshing, the light hints of fruit soften the spices, and there is a reasonable complexity. Furthermore, I get some peanuts, spicy pears, fruity rye bread. The aftertaste is fairly long and very acceptable.
Tasting this reminds me of why I like to explore the smaller distilleries from all over the USA. It just breathes enthusiasm, originality and innovation. And with the latter I do not mean putting a spirit into a cask formerly containing a (fortified) wine from a region nobody within the world of whisky has heard of before. No, I mean true innovation. Different ingredients, different methods, leading to different tastes. I do hope that the folks at FEW will mature their rye (and bourbon) just a few more years, because I think then they will really have top notch quality in their hands. But it is already very good.
Big thanks to for sharing the sample!
• these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •