I’m a skeptic. If I see a fancy bottle/label I want to know what it is, but I also am fully aware of marketing and that “visually appealing” does not equate to “quality.” So when I finally got a bottle of Frey Ranch into my hands and saw some of the more visually appealing elements: bottle shape, minimalistic label, a FR emblem on the bottle and the cap; some alarm bells went off in my head.
I’ve seen Frey Ranch popping up in whiskey groups all over Facebook for the last few months. This Nevada-based farm and distillery has become a new favourite of the whiskey community. Colby Frey, a 5th generation farmer and first generation distiller, is the man behind this four grain Bourbon. They are using a mash of 66.6% Corn, 11.4% Rye, 10% Wheat, and 12% malted barley.
One last bit of housekeeping before we move on: I received a bottle compliments of Frey Ranch Distillery in exchange for my honest feedback and review. While life would be much easier if I was on the take like a dirty cop, I’m not, and all my reviews are honest. The presence or absence of a media sample never affects the outcome. That said, I need a drink…
I asked Frey how they got such specific ratios, and he said they’ve “been distilling since 2006, in small quantities, and liked the way the different grains complement each other in this recipe.” When I explained that I so rarely see non-whole numbers for percentages of grains in the mash, unless it’s x.5%, he said “we like to be extra transparent: some distilleries keep their recipes a secret, but we feel like because we grow all the grains, it would be nearly impossible for someone to replicate our product[.]”
Appearance: colour of deep, rich amber. Legs/tears are thin and lightly oily.
Nose: Thin, wafers, vanilla, caramel, sweet wheat, a hint of malt in the back. Bitter. Artificial cherry and wet oak.
Palate: Creamy, with bitter oak on the front and mid leading into pepper and a sensation similar to drinking a hot beverage just a bit too quickly. Earthy/dirty, slight notes of super high cacao content dark chocolate.
Overall: I like it. I definitely see why folks enjoy it. It’s lighter proof, but still a good session whiskey. Something that you can drink a glass of over an hour or two and as it gets more exposure to air it would probably get better and better. I would like to see this at a higher proof than 90, not necessarily a cask strength (though of course I’m never opposed to that), perhaps 92.