'The Good Stuff' by Chef Kyleigh Beach
Although whiskey isn’t my tipple of choice, I do have a fondness for alcoholic beverages of all kinds, so when the opportunity arose to attend a talk and whiskey tasting with the owners of Templeton Rye Spirits, I jumped at it. Last year my colleague Chef Lance Avery introduced me to “The Good Stuff”, as Templeton Rye has been known since Prohibition. Illegally produced in Templeton, Iowa and bootlegged as far as San Francisco, Templeton Rye was rumored to be Al Capone’s illegal beverage of choice and now has a serious cult following.
So what makes Templeton Rye so special, you wonder? One reason is its ridiculously high rye content of over 90%. By law, rye whiskey must contain at least 51% rye. Another reason is the staunch attention to detail and standards. More than half of the rye sourced for making Templeton Rye is rejected. Apparently rye is a very delicate grain that spoils quickly. Since the end product can only be as good as the raw ingredients, rye quality is paramount. The aging process is another distinguishing factor that makes Templeton Rye unique. Before The Good Stuff hits the market it spends four years in new American white oak 53 gallon barrels that have a level 3 char. What is a level 3 char, you ask? I am honestly not sure, but it makes for one smooth gulp of whiskey.
The best part of the Templeton Rye talk and tasting was hearing all the great Prohibition-era stories about the lengths to which people would go to protect their precious stash and the care they took making it. This pride and dedication is something Templeton Rye’s owners, Scott Bush and Keith Kerkhoff, are serious about carrying on today, producing small amounts of the highest quality product. If you’re lucky enough to snag a bottle, you’ll find yourself savoring a bit of American history along with your whiskey.