A well done, young and exuberant rye with some rough edges to its character making for a charmingly roguish character
Notes: Honeoye Falls Distillery is one of the newer distilleries in the Rochester and Finger Lakes area. Located about 30 minutes south of Rochester it is nestled in the hill and drumlins of the Finger Lakes area and draws its water from the nearby Finger Lakes of Canadice and Hemlock Lakes ( both of whom are water supplies also for the city of Rochester and known for the taste ad purity of their water. They use a second generation ( as I call it as significant improvements have been made over the first models) Artisan Still Works stainless steel steam fired still with a column and copper inserts. This is their aged rye spirit called Red Saw Rye made with the same grain mash bill as their vodka but brought off at a lower proof to preserve the flavors and characteristics to a greater degree than the Frozen Falls Vodka and aged in small barrels. They also produce an unaged rye by the name of Lantern Light Rye Moonshine, a gin that comes in two versions, a New World type Unaged Gin called Devils Bathtub Gin, and an aged version called Devils Bathtub Rested Gin, an extremely limited release Pilot Batch of Bourbon and now their later releases of bourbon which also follow the rye in that the bourbon is hitting the market now is aged in successively larger barrels and aged for longer periods of time. .
Notes: The rye is made from 85% very locally grown rye and 15% of the mash bill is a 6 row malted barley from Pioneer Malting, our local Maltster. The grain is literally grown next door to the distillery – giving it much smaller carbon footprint than many and also locavore .
This also represents on of the first new batches that used a 10 gallon barrel rather than the previous 5 gallon barrel bottlings and a almost doubling of the age because they could – using a larger barrel means exponentially less wood and a also exponentially longer aging period/interval before the oak starts to get out of hand.
Appearance: Clear, nice golden color like a honey colored Baltic amber or tree sap. On swirling it coats the glass with a mildly oily coat then starts to show droplets along the edge line which slowly on the retreat of the edge line become small droplets or tears.
First Impression: Lovely barrel notes , with heavy rye notes with the characteristic sweet and sour , bready notes, traces of heather, mint .
Taste: Woody,spicy, slightly minty, honey with loads of grain with a slightly drying, nicely warming finish.
Drinks: Rye was the predominant spirit in America long before bourbon and was the spirit used in almost all the classic cocktails that use bourbon today such as the Manhattan or Old Fashioned .
With the recent revival of rye we are seeing a resurgence of the use of rye in these cocktails again and retaking its rightful place place in mixing drinks. This rye with its grain forward and well balanced woodiness makes a delightful Manhattan ( please use a fresh and quality vermouth), Old Fashioned , Sazerac , Old Pal or Boulevardier .
It also works well in a cocktail calling for a lighter ( read less smoky) Scotch .
Bottle: Clear glass 375 ML bottle that is vaguely apothecary like in nature BUT not the usual bell shaped bottle, with a slightly concave bottom rounded shoulders and a wider lip to the collar both fits the hand and is easy to pick up.The label is distinctive and easy to see at a distance or in poor light and graphics are high quality.This bottle is distinguished from its sister bottle ( of the Red Saw bourbon whiskey) by a cream colored field And capital letters with red and the rest of the letters in black. Bottle is topped by an attractive wooden top and a cream/tan synthetic cork to finish a distinctive and nice looking bottle that sits nicely on a shelf.
Cigars: Great with a Fuente Hemingway Signature or Work of Art either a natural or Madura wrapper
Final Thoughts: Very impressive for such a young rye from such a new distillery ! The extra months of aging over the first bottling rounded and softened a number of the rough edges and allowed the barrel and slight oxidation within a barrel to get their magic started.
Other: The grading is against other ryes of the same age and barrel size ( at least as closely as possible ) to judge it against its peers, not the category overall where we would have to include much older ryes done in much larger barrels. That would be more like comparing apples to oranges as it were.
A well laid out and fast loading site with easy navigation and a fair amount of information. It needs updating in a few places but is a well done site overall if a bit minimal compared to some