Last fall, boutique bourbon label Beverly Spirits doubled their portfolio to two offerings with a rare (only 550 bottles) cask strength edition of their flagship The Beverly High Rye, dubbed The Beverly Reserve. A refresher for those of you who don’t live on Rodeo Drive, this is a blend of 60% straight bourbon distilled by Iowa’s Cedar Ridge Distillery and 40% straight rye from an unnamed Indiana distillery (still a small list). As the story goes, this particular expression stood out at a higher proof when the owners were designing the recipe, so they saved it for a handful of lucky, glitzy Angelenos to enjoy. We don’t really fit into that category, but we’re more than happy to taste their whiskey. Thoughts follow.
With so much rye in the mix, the nose initially hits with a big green bouquet of cut grass and fresh herbs. A similar aroma is present on the standard offering, but, at a much lower proof, it’s measured and manageable. Luckily, things recalibrate quickly enough as it opens in the glass, revealing silky notes of praline, butterscotch, and cinnamon toast with hints of orange zest and Andes mints. It comes across altogether more mature than the standard offering, although a bit of creamed corn can still be found lingering in the foreground. On the palate, an initial rush of cola, dark vanilla bean, and Demerara syrup offers a sugary entry that’s eventually tempered with a bit of barrel char and warm rye spice. It’s an approachable heat, even at barrel strength, building gently into the finish with fresh black pepper and mint. The body is light but vibrant with flavor, dissolving into a generous finish of dark spices, buttercream, and caramel syrup. Still a touch sweet, but it’s a well-executed bourbon and rye blend that delivers quite a lot of flavor. And it’s reasonably priced for a rare, barrel strength bourbon, which isn’t something you can say for most things coming out of Beverly Hills.
A- / $80 / beverlyhighrye.com