Although California isn’t known for its whiskey, mainly due to a small sample size, it should come as no surprise that the distilleries that do come out of the Golden State often produce some of the finest spirits outside of Kentucky. California does so many things well, so why not whiskey? Perhaps it’s the lack of stringent history and traditions, or nonpartisanship towards any particular style or set of methods, that allows distillers the freedom to experiment. One such name that’s been making waves lately is the Beverly, whose High Rye Whiskey just got a gold medal at the Bartender Spirits Awards.
Los Angeles native Andrew Borenzweig founded the Beverly in hopes of bringing a luxury whiskey to the market that embodied the glitz and glamour of the old Hollywood ethos. To do so, he didn’t look to Kentucky or Tennessee to source his grain, but Iowa. He partnered with Cedar Ridge Distillery, Iowa’s first distillery, which rests right in the heart of the nation’s corn belt and makes its own whiskey from grain to glass. Alongside Cedar Ridge master distiller Murphy Quint, Borenzweig used trial and error to find the perfect recipe of barrels to blend the unique spice-forward rye profile and the complexities of corn-based bourbon. They even started at cask strength and worked their way down to find the optimal drinking proof.
Now, it’s important to note the difference between the Beverly High Rye Whiskey and typical high-rye bourbon. Where the latter is a bourbon through and through (i.e., at least 51% corn), the former is a blend of straight rye and straight bourbon and thus is constituted as a whiskey. Held inside a vintage-inspired bottle with a palm leaf-beset label (which itself won a gold medal for design at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition), the dram is kept at 96 proof and has a tasting profile of cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar, giving way to a finish of caramel, toffee, and candied pecans.
To try the Beverly High Rye Whiskey for yourself, head over to the brand’s website, where you can purchase a bottle for $60.