Templeton Rye got its start during Prohibition. It was originally distilled in Templeton, Iowa, by bootleggers Frank Schroeder and Alphonse Kerkhoff (whose grandson Keith is involved with its legal production today). During the 1920s Templeton Rye was a favorite of Al Capone, who allegedly called it “the good stuff.” Reintroduced in 2006, it is still produced and aged in Templeton, but the proprietary recipe is now combined with rye whiskey from a distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, and Templeton, Iowa, water. Today’s version uses no corn in its recipe and has a high 95 percent rye mash content combined with malted
barley. The commemorative 10-year-old Special Reserve ($150) is limited to 6,080 bottles, with labels that depict the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific Railroad freight train that stopped at the small prairie town of Templeton to clandestinely load cases of Templeton Rye destined for Chicago.
Serve: At a proof of 101, this needs a splash of branch (distilled) water to open it up.
Taste: Unlike Templeton’s 4- and 6-year-old versions, the 10 Year Old is noticeably rich, with a thicker countenance of citrus, raisins, and lightly toasted bread wrapped in the distillery’s characteristic candied floral aroma.