Templeton Fortitude Bourbon


Classification: Straight Bourbon

Company: Infinium Spirits

Distillery: Templeton Distillery

Release Date: April 2024

Proof: 92

Age: NAS (Aged at least 4 years per TTB regulations)

Mashbill: 55% Corn, 45% Rye, 5% Malted Barley

Color: Light Hay

MSRP: $40 / 750mL (2024)

Official Website

Press Release

“Templeton Rye” refers to rye whiskey made in Templeton as far back as the 1920s. In 2006 the concept was brought back to life with the introduction of the Templeton brand, which pays homage to historical roots. The initial release was a sourced rye whiskey, and the brand has added numerous sourced rye whiskeys to its portfolio since then. In 2018, Templeton Distillery, which is located on 20 acres in Templeton, Iowa, began distilling. A small town that is home to only 352 residents, the distillery “employs 30 locals” according to the company.

Fortitude Bourbon Bourbon marks a pivotal moment for the company, as it is their first ever bourbon release and the first release they have distilled onsite. It has a unique mashbill and according to the company is “born from locally sourced corn and meticulously cultivated in collaboration with local farms within 15 miles of the distillery.”

The Templeton Whiskey brand is owned by Infinium Spirits, whose portfolio also includes Tears of Llorona, Seagram’s Vodka, Zaya Rum, and Tequila Corralejo, Crystal Head Vodka, and others.


The nose is really light and almost non-existent without a really deep inhale, though what's there is pleasant. Scents of pear and fresh cut grass give way to an underlying floral presence. There’s a hint of apricot in there as well. There isn't anything off-putting about the aroma per se, it’s just very thin and does little to draw you into the sip.


The floral undertone and pear flavors continue into the palate. They’re met with a light spice mix, some vanilla, and a citrus note. The mouthfeel is thin, but like the nose, the palate has an approachable pleasantness to it that helps make up for it. Thankfully, the spice mix gains intensity on the backend of the palate as it transitions towards the finish.


Spice reaches its high point here, with rye, black pepper, and a hint of cinnamon. The pear and floral notes persist, solidifying their continuity through the sip, though the spice mix ultimately overcomes them. Caramel and a cinnamon sugar graham cracker come into play as well. The finish proves to be the whiskey’s high point, as the spice brings with it a lingering and enjoyable intensity that plays well against the sip's light overall presence.


It’s always exciting when a distillery releases its first in-house distilled product. This release is especially interesting because Templeton is a well-known company with wide distribution, and has been releasing whiskey for almost 20 years. The company also faced three class action lawsuits in 2015 resulting from accusations of misrepresenting where their whiskey was distilled, as it was marketed as “made in Iowa,” when in fact it was distilled in Indiana and then further aged, blended, and bottled in Iowa. Being the first whiskey release the company has distilled themselves, Fortitude Bourbon is inarguably a monumental release for the company. It’s also important to take into account that the Templeton distillery, despite having wide distribution and being well funded, still operates as a relatively small, local company in the grand scheme of things.

Fortitude isn’t just the first in-house distilled whiskey from the company, it’s also their first bourbon release. To that end, there isn’t a reference point for what Templeton branded bourbon, or any whiskey distilled in-house, should taste like. As a result no bar needs to be met with this release, as it's the first that will begin to define their distillery so Fortitude is in fact setting the bar. Having distilled whiskey a little over 5 years at this point, this release presumably includes whiskey distilled during the distillery’s first year of operation. That perspective is important, because while the brand has been around for quite some time, this release is actually some of their first in-house distillate and a learning curve is expected.

Fortitude Bourbon is a very light sip that’s given away by its light color. It doesn’t carry an age statement, but given the constraints of the distillery’s open date and label requirements it's likely aged between 4-5 years, but at no point is it off-putting and it never comes across as underaged. It develops some nice spice on the backend, and offers a pleasant sip overall. The 45% rye in its mashbill is on the high side for bourbon, which undoubtedly contributes to the whiskey’s spicy kick on the backend. Iowa is also a lesser-known home state for whiskey distilleries, though it is interesting that more corn is grown there than any other state in the U.S., bourbon's main ingredient.

The sip is light and pleasant but not otherwise memorable by taste alone. Ultimately, the fact that Fortitude Bourbon is the first in-house distilled whiskey from Templeton makes it one to take note of, as it sets the tone for all the whiskeys they’ll distill in-house that will follow it.


As a pure pour-to-price comparison, Fortitude comes up a little short. Bourbon has a lot of better more developed options under $40, including Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon ($32), Four Roses Small Batch ($30), Buffalo Trace Bourbon ($30), Woodford Reserve Bourbon ($35), and even the up-and-comer from Green River ($35), to name a few. But Templeton products have always played in reasonably priced territory, and Fortitude is a pleasant, approachable sip that is unlikely to offend anyone. It might even impress some with its easy drinkability and notably spicy finish.

But most important is the fact that Fortitude is the first in-house distilled whiskey from Templeton, representing a milestone for the company. From a whiskey drinker’s point of view, Fortitude is a snapshot in time and serves as a reference point for what will most likely be many whiskeys that follow it and a flavor profile that will eventually get dialed in. Given these factors and the fact that it’s only $40, which is still quite low for a new bourbon release nowadays, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it as a bourbon to pick up for anyone who cares about that kind of thing.


Fortitude Bourbon is light and pleasant, and is ultimately more notable for the fact that it is the first in-house distilled whiskey from Templeton Whiskey than its flavor profile alone.  

Templeton Whiskey is a company with widespread distribution and name recognition, but still has a lot of room to grow and really define who they are. Settling multiple lawsuits in 2015 related to product representation, it’s clear the company has no intention of letting that be what defines them. As a result, Fortitude is a suitable name for their first in-house distilled release. This whiskey likely represents some of the first barrels they laid down, and most importantly, marks their shift from sourcing to in-house distilling. Other well-known widely known and distributed brands such as High West and Smooth Ambler have followed similar paths, building a reputation on sourced whiskeys and then introducing their own distillate into their product lineups. But even years later, the results are still mixed, and it’s not clear that distilling in-house is always the way to go. In Templeton’s case, the verdict is still out, as Fortitude is on the right track but still needs to find its footing.

The sample used for this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy its respective company. We thank them for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.
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Written By: Nick Beiter

April 3, 2024
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