Masterson’s is definitely a nice rye. Though, like Whistle Pig, it suffers from a bit of an identity crises because it gets distilled up in Canada, but then gets brought down and bottled here in the states. Part of me wants to call it a Canadian whisky, because really that’s what it is, and the other part of me wants to throw a fit because, again, we have a company that’s doing their best to not say they distill it without saying they don’t distill it either.
The name Masterson’s comes from Bat Masterson who was a figure of some renown in the American old west and like this whiskey he was born in Canada, but came to America to find his fortune and fame. Early in life he left Canada to be a buffalo hunter and from there he became an Army Scout in the not-so-awesome Indian battles before becoming a well-known gambler, a lawman and finally the sports editor for the New York Telegraph. I wonder what he would think of this whiskey?
Masterson’s 10 yr. Straight Rye Review
Age: 10 years
Distiller: Alberta Distillers
Bottler: 35 Maple Street Spirits (CA)
Mashbill: 100% rye
RYE. Not kidding you, this 100% rye whiskey wondrously reeks of rye. Behind that are notes of caramel, pepper, leather, sweet tobacco and vanilla with a touch of wood, dill and baking spices. This is one hell of a nice smelling rye.
Boom, that rye spice comes barreling out again bringing some great solid notes of caramel, cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg and leather. The tobacco notes have turned a bit bitter on the palate and the baking spices have taken on a bit more of a nutmeg and clove feel. The woody notes have firmed up and provide a great floor for some ambiguous sweet notes to flit about.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
This is a great balancing act with everything stacked and assembled in a tasty fashion. A warm full body fills out the whiskey and compliments it’s weighty feel.
Can I just write “All Of The Above” and call it a day? No? Well ok then. It’s a nice long finish that is dominated by the rye, caramel and woody notes and punctuated with all the great pepper, leather, cinnamon, tobacco, vanilla and baking spice noted before. A very nice dram indeed.
This whiskey is good, but I feel that $70 is a bit too much for it. It feels like they are trying to take a page out of Masterson’s own book and capitalize on his name. Towards the end of his life Bat would supposedly buy six-shooters from pawn shops (buying the whiskey from Canada), put notches on it like he did after killing a man (bottling it and labeling it with his name) and then selling it as the original for an inflated price (selling it as “artisan crafted” without saying whose artisans crafted it… for an inflated price). Definitely worth a try… but I’d hold off on buying a whole bottle till you did.
SCORE: 86-90 /100*
*Range given because I was trying it at a friend’s house and not in a controlled environment at home. Also, the image shows a frosted bottle. I did warm mine in my hand until body temperature before taking notes.