Classification: Straight Bourbon
Company: Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company
Distillery: Kentucky Peerless Distilling Company
Release Date: April 2023
Age: NAS (Aged at least 4 years per TTB regulations)
Color: Dark Bronze
MSRP: $150 (2023)
Kentucky Peerless High Rye bourbon breaks the mold when it comes to what consumers have come to know of the brand. The company states, “Peerless High Rye Bourbon is the first Peerless release to be crafted with a wholly unique mash bill since their Peerless Bourbon and Peerless Rye. Up until this release, the Peerless mash bill has remained consistent through their Bourbon and Barrel Finished Bourbon offerings. The new mash bill introduces a higher rye content than previous Bourbon offerings."
The bottle in review has the identification number 171003103.
The bourbon reminds you of its name right from the start with a big blast of rye spice. Traditional earthy scents of deeply charred oak and leather follow. Adding further intrigue are sweeter aromas of nougat and toasted vanilla sugar. Charred caramel rounds things out and tends to walk the line between earthy and sweet. It’s a bold opening that works really well.
Much like the nose, drier aged notes tend to bubble to the top. Light sweet dried fig is first noticeable and mingles with leather and aged oak notes. Dark raisins and dry cinnamon powder are next, while a subtle rye spice note simmers. Overall it’s a midpoint that really highlights the bourbon's darker, drier notes delivering a chewy flavor profile that leans heavily into its high rye mashbill.
The finish stays consistent with the rest of the preceding parts of the sip. A pop of rye spice kicks things up and is immediately followed by a one-two punch of leather and dried oak. A touch of dry raisins weaves in and out while a dry mild spice lingers. These notes quickly fade away leaving only the mild dry spice and an overtly dry note in their wake. It’s not as dynamic as the rest of the sip, instead leaning too hard into its drier notes, which will be a love it or hate it ending for most.
Kentucky Peerless High Rye Bourbon is the first Peerless release to be crafted with a wholly unique mashbill since their Peerless Bourbon and Peerless Rye were first introduced, and the end result certainly stands apart. Compared to the company’s Small Batch Barrel Proof Bourbon, which is only one proof point off, Peerless High Rye Bourbon really ramps up the focus on earthy and dry notes. In fact, this bourbon has a strong vibe going when it comes to embracing these darker, earthier notes.
One thing is certain, there’s little like this bourbon currently in the marketplace. Most high rye bourbons tend to focus on ramping up spice notes in their sip. While Peerless High Rye certainly weaves in rye and cinnamon spice notes, they’re by no means the star of the show. Its darker notes balance nicely against aged notes, and its sweetness in the form of dry raisins and charred caramel complement each other well. This is a bourbon I can see myself reaching for in the winter, where this combination of flavors would hit perfectly on a cold snowy night. It’s certainly not a combination all bourbon lovers will chase, but it does prove that there’s room in the market for a flavor profile like this that other brands are missing out on.
Kentucky Peerless High Rye Bourbon carries a price tag that seems out of place even for a company known for high prices. At $150, this is currently the second highest-priced whiskey that you can buy from Peerless Distilling Company, with its counterpart being a rum barrel-finished peerless bourbon. Even their Peerless Rye Absinthe Barrel Finished and Peerless Double Oak Bourbon sell for less and those whiskeys both use finishing barrels which would add more to the overall creation process.
While its flavor certainly stands apart from other Peerless releases, the fact that this isn’t marked as a limited release, doesn’t utilize a finishing barrel, and has no unique characteristic besides utilizing a new mashbill is head-scratching in relation to its price. It comes across as an odd pricing strategy for Peerless and one for the life of me that I can’t figure out. It’s really a shame since this is a solid product from the company and more individuals should have an opportunity to try this without paying its exorbitant price tag.
With a focus on darker flavors and dry aged notes, Kentucky Peerless High Rye Bourbon is rich in flavor and stands apart from others in the Peerless line.
If Kentucky Peerless High Rye Bourbon could be summed up in one word, it would be dense. The sip is full of dense dark flavors that quickly layer on top of one another. The flavors are interesting, but the whiskey also exhibits a focus on drier and aged flavor characteristics. Kentucky Peerless High Rye Bourbon is one of those sips that is a reminder of why so many people associate bourbon with being a wintertime spirit. These dark notes are densely packed into the glass, and with the bourbon's focus on dry aged notes, this is one of those pours that you’re better off ending the night with versus starting it off on. Its price will be a turn-off for many, and rightly so, however, for those willing to pay the cost of entry, they’ll be greeted with a sip that’s undeniably delicious.