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American Whiskey Buy It Now Rated B+ Reviews Rye Whiskey

Review: New England Distilling Gunpowder Rye

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Based in Portland, Maine, craft distillery New England Distilling is likely the easternmost distilling operation in the United States (correct me if I’m wrong). It’s a producer of several spirits, including this increasingly popular and available rye.

We’ve got more NED reviews in the works, but meanwhile take a gander at Gunpowder, reportedly “inspired by” a 150 year old “Maryland style” family recipe. Made only from local grains — just rye and 2-row barley (70% rye, 30% barley), no corn — and spending less than two years in American oak barrels, it’s a young craft rye like few others we’ve encountered.

Aptly named, Gunpowder Rye is very pungent on the nose. Loaded with notes of menthol, fresh cut grains, black and red pepper, and — dare I say — the racy essence of gunpowder, this isn’t a shy spirit. The body is brash and loaded with power. “Smooth” is a word that no one will use to describe this rye, its raw and biting character worn right on its sleeve. Gut-punching pepper, roasted grains, and flamed orange peel come across before a fiery finish grips your throat and doesn’t let go. Mercifully, at the very end, a wash of brown sugar sweetness comes across, letting you off the hook a little.

Rye often gets stereotyped as a “spicy” whiskey when in reality many ryes can be quite fruity and easygoing. This is one whiskey that lives up to the stereotype completely.

87 proof. Reviewed: Batch #4.

B+ / $39 / newenglanddistilling.com  [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]

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Christopher Null

Christopher Null is the creator and editor in chief of Drinkhacker.com, a veteran technology journalist, and the owner of Null Media, a custom blogging company.

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4 Comments

  1. Ben June 20, 2014

    Well, it’s them or Triple 8 in Nantucket, not sure which is further east.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous June 20, 2014

    The eastern most would be Sweetgrass in Union, Maine

    Reply
  3. SHbk December 29, 2014

    Literally everyone I have poured Gunpowder Rye for has described it as smooth.

    Reply
  4. Christopher Null December 29, 2014

    SHbk – Sarcasm, maybe?

    Reply

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