Kentucky Peerless is a storied distillery with roots dating back to the 1880’s. The company began operating as the Worsham Distilling Company in Henderson, Kentucky in the early 1880’s, and officially began Kentucky Peerless in 1889 under entrepreneur and businessman Henry Kraver. Unfortunately, the distillery fell victim to the 18th Amendment and the brand disappeared. However, in 2014 Kraver’s great-grandson Corky Taylor and great-great-grandson Carson Taylor acquired a facility on the Ohio River in downtown Louisville and Kentucky Peerless was reborn. Their first rye was barreled in 2015 and released two years later. Each batch is a micro-batch that is comprised of only six barrels.
The mashbill for this bottle is undisclosed but this is a sweet mash whiskey, as opposed to the typical sour mash. It is non-chill filtered and bottled at barrel proof. This rye comes in at 107.4 proof (53.7 % abv)
Appearance – light golden amber
Nose – the nose is light and flavorful. There is some alcohol up front and lots of brown sugar. There are also notes of vanilla, cedar, and tobacco leaf. With time, the nose opened up with some sweetness of dark cherry.
Palate – this rye opens up with a very light sweetness but the rye spice quickly develops. The spice is not overpowering, although there is enough here to remind you that you are drinking a well-developed, barrel proof rye. Brown sugar and vanilla are also present, along with oak and peppercorn.
Finish – the finish is long and smooth. This rye leaves a buttery mouthfeel with mild rye spice, dark brown sugar, oak, and hints of banana towards the end.
Overall – this is a a young but exceptionally smooth and flavorful rye. While the flavors may not blend together as seamlessly as an older rye, the flavors are well-developed and pleasant. The price is a little steep ($120/bottle) but this is a great sipping rye with a very long and interesting history. This is also a great example of a sweet mash product. I highly recommend a pour if you have the chance!
On a side note, Peerless has also announced that it will be releasing a small-batch bourbon in Spring 2019, so there is a lot to look forward to from this revived distillery.