By Father John Rayls
The Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company of Lexington, Kentucky, which is owned by Alltech, has four whiskeys that it distills and several excellent beers brewed onsite as well. This naturally includes Town Branch Rye at 100 proof. The Town Branch brand celebrates the water flowing under Lexington and points to the importance of the water repeatedly filtered by the limestone rock in and under the rivers in the area. All of the distilleries I’ve visited in Kentucky take great pride in the age of their products, but also the old age and history of their buildings. There is a story behind each one. Walking into Lexington Brewing and Distilling presents an entirely different effect. The facilities are relatively new with lots of glass walls, lots of natural light, very clean, little wear and tear and bright shiny copper stills. Of course the Lexington City government helps in this regard by not allowing Town Branch to store any barreled whiskey on their premises overnight. As a result, they must truck their whiskey out of the city limits every day that whiskey is being barreled. Large fires fueled by extraordinary quantities of alcohol are always of concern. However, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee are also dealing with a myriad of “blue laws” designed to protect us from ourselves.
The bottle is a little more unusual and goes for a taller and more slender look rather than the squat alternative. The label and colors are very attractive particularly over the light to medium gold hue of the rye. The writing on the back of the bottle appearing as handwriting is attractive, but almost unreadable due to its smallness and the choice of font. The legs are thin and short. The nose is hot with a little cinnamon spiciness creeping around the burn. If you stay with it long enough, there is a faint caramel aroma that wafts through occasionally. The nose is aggressive but almost entirely due to the alcohol. The flavor profile is more red hot candy over some light rye spiciness than anything else. The action is on the back of the tongue and just a little on the roof of the mouth at the back. The finish is medium to long with only a little flavor (vanilla pepper) and lots of alcohol heat. It’s not overwhelming. It just prevents the flavors from announcing their presence. Town Branch Rye Whiskey is made from 55% rye, 30% corn and 15% malted barley, but I’m hesitant to list an age. It’s a no age statement whiskey, but it is not listed as a Kentucky Straight Rye. This raises several questions in my mind about what all is going on in this bottle.
You can find a 750 ml bottle for an average price of $49.99. However, I’ve seen it listed at $10.00 higher or lower on the Internet. Although I enjoyed one other of their four whiskeys and several of their beers, I would have to take a pass on the Town Branch Rye.