Masterson’s Rye Whiskey Review


I have a long-standing love for Rye whiskey, for those of you who know me well you have probably had to endure a longstanding Rye Whiskey phase where it was basically all that I purchased for my home bar. For the last year or so I have tried to steer clear of buying any Ryes until I couldn’t ignore the buzz swirling around about Masterson’s and WhistlePig. In this review I will be focusing on one of my new favorites, Masterson’s Rye Whiskey.

This delightful whiskey is actually sourced from Alberta Distillers Limited in Calgary, Alberta Canada and made of 100% Rye using Glacial Water from the Northern Rockies, made in an old-fashioned pot still and although it comes out of the barrel at 125 Proof it’s tempered down to a reasonable 90 Proof. You might have heard the rumors that this distillery also produces WhistlePig and Jeffersons (a rumor that I can neither confirm nor deny) but having tasted all 3 whiskeys I would argue that they are each unique and not copy cat recipes.

Take note that making 100% Rye isn’t easy, using all Rye is notoriously difficult to do because the grain is more expensive, and is extremely sticky making it rough on machinery to process. I’ve heard that the secret to their success with the all Rye recipe is due in part to using a yeast-like fungus in the distillation process.

After It’s Made
After 10 long years aging the whiskey is then shipped and bottled in Sonoma, California by 35 Maple Street (a Division of the Other Guys) owned by siblings Mia and August Sebastiani whose family is a well known and long time wine making family. This new division is now focused on making spirits including a Gin and Rum. There is also mention of an eventual Small Batch Bourbon production but I couldn’t find any information on it.

The Name
Masterson’s was named after William “Bat” Masterson, who was an infamous Canadian-born old west lawman. August Sebastiani had this to say about the name “Bat Masterson was not only a buffalo hunter, card dealer, U.S. marshal and local lawman, but he retired to New York where he became a prolific sportswriter and newspaperman. Masterson had considerable depth of character, much like our rye whiskey and I’ve always been fascinated by the role that saloons, card games and whiskey played in the gun slingin’ days of the Wild West.”

Parting Thoughts
While I know that I’ve shared some less than positive remarks about Canadian Whiskey in earlier articles, Masterson’s Rye Whiskey is fantastic and a definite favorite at the whiskey tastings I hosted in March. The only negative press that I noticed and that folks in my circles mentioned was regarding the price ($70 and up). I am usually one of the first people to raise the bar for a raised price tag but for me the quality of this spirit backed up the price.

Color: Deep Amber.

Nose: A wide variety of aromas. Crisp, bright and floral notes matched by a nice amount of wood, mint and spices.

Palate: Very complex, a trifecta of wonderful classic flavors - spicy, sweet and woody all in balance.

Finish: Long and warm finish with a good amount of spice.

I'd Suggest You: Buy It!