Review: Masterson’s 10 Year Old Straight Rye Whiskey

100% rye: an oddity. 100% rye from Canada, blended with Colorado-sourced water, and bottled in Sonoma, California — a real oddity.

Technically a Canadian whisky, this big rye is named after Old West lawman William “Bat” Masterson — a man who, somehow, has returned from the grave he entered in 1921 in order to put his signature on these bottles. The distillery, 35 Maple Street, is owned by Sonoma’s famed Sebastiani family. This is their first foray into whiskey.

Wine country royalty and Masterson’s autograph and picture aside, let’s look at what’s inside: As noted, 100% rye, aged for a full decade in cask. 86 proof, perfect for an old rye.

The nose is immediately huge, full of caramel, citrus, and wood notes. On the palate, even bigger: Incredibly sweet, and delightfully spicy: Cinnamon and allspice, fresh orange (not peel), with a tinge of something akin to a Moroccan spice blend lacing things up. The finish brings the essence of raisins and a drying touch, but it’s a little overwhelming in its sweetness. This kind of sugar isn’t something you often see in a rye — particularly a 100% rye — but for the most part it works. I’d love to see just a touch more balance (a la WhistlePig) in the end, but even for a bit of a sugar bomb, it’s awfully well made.

Reviewed: Batch #3, Bottle #779.


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6 Responses

  1. I_SPEY May 16, 2012 / 12:11 pm

    Where to buy in Europe(The Netherlands) this intriguing 10 yo straight rye whiskey(The Netherlands)???

    Thanks in advance for your answer(s)!

    I_SPEY aka René

  2. I_SPEY May 16, 2012 / 12:14 pm

    Where to buy this amazing whiskey in The Netherlands – Europe????

    I_SPEY aka René

  3. Greg Queen January 25, 2015 / 8:40 pm

    I bought bottle 6879 from batch 005. I must have the tail of batch 005 because I do not understand how this whiskey gets anything but an unfortunate thumbs down. The finish is like burnt rubber.

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