Classification: Straight Rye
Company: Luca Mariano
Age: 4 Years
Mashbill: Undisclosed (listed as a high rye)
MSRP: $45 (2019)
Francesco Viola was a home distilling hobbyist and in 2010 he decided to bring some of his grandfather's old whiskey recipes to life. Upon learning that it was illegal to home distill, Francesco dove in head first, obtaining a license to distill and creating the Luca Mariano brand along the way. The company derives its name from Francesco’s son, Luca Mariano, who is named after Francesco’s grandfather. The brand is currently working with a Kentucky distillery to distill their products to spec. In 2017, the company found a 300 acre farm in Danville, Kentucky with the goal of it eventually housing a future distillery, rackhouses, and a visitor center.
The batch being tasted comes from Batch Number 2019-01. The batch’s nose is light with hints of corn, vanilla, oak, and light marshmallow. Taking a sip presents light flavors of oak, white pepper, corn, and a dash of vanilla. The rye pulls through on the finish and presents a slightly spicier than expected ending, especially considering its 83 proof. Along with the rye spice, sweet vanilla and light oak are also present for this short to medium finish.
As would be expected for an 83 proof rye, the sip is on the lighter side. The flavors are fine, but you can’t help but feel a few more years in the barrel and about 10+ more proof points would really allow this rye to shine. It will be interesting to see how the Luca Mariano Small Batch Rye develops over time, especially once distillation moves in-house. In the meantime, Luca Mariano Small Batch Rye presents the perfect cocktail rye when you need a lighter base for a whiskey-based cocktail.
The sample used for this review was provided at no cost courtesy of Luca Mariano. We thank them for the sample and for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.