Rocky Mountain Rye: A Review of Distillery 291’s Colorado Rye Whiskey

colorado rye whiskey

Located in Colorado Springs, Distillery 291 was born when New York City fashion photographer Michael Myers realized he needed to get out of dodge. That was 2011. Since opening, Distillery 291 has produced five kinds of whiskey (a bourbon, an unaged rye, an American whiskey mellowed with Aspen charcoal, and an unaged corn whiskey), as well as a citrus clove whisky liqueur.

What separates this rye whiskey from other rye whiskies on the market is the finish. Where some whiskies (like Maker’s 46, for example) may finish with French oak, a common type of wood used in liquor-making, Distillery 291 finishes their Colorado Rye Whiskey with aspen staves — which, coming from Colorado seems appropriate.

Distillery 291 Colorado Rye Whiskey

Appearance: Distillery 291 Colorado Rye Whiskey shines bright like a new penny.

Nose: The rye spice characteristics come through first and foremost, and these are rounded out by notes of cooked fruit and fruit cake. A hint of pine can also be found mixed in there.

Palate: A beery, sweet malty flavor is one of the most prevalent you will get upon first sip. It is bright and almost effervescent, leading you into baking spices and caramel that remind you that you’re working with a rye whiskey aged in new barrels. There is a certain heat on the back end, due to both the age of the whiskey (less than two years) and the high proof (101.7).

Finish: As we get near the holiday season, the finish on this whiskey seems appropriate, as it tastes very Christmas-y. You’ll get nutmeg and cinnamon mixing with a cedar woodiness. The flavors linger on the palate for a while.

Final thoughts: For a young whiskey, this is more enjoyable than many I’ve had. I’m curious to see what these whiskies would taste like once they’ve got a few more years in barrels. The real hang-up for most will be the price — at around $70 per bottle, it might be hard for some to justify splurging on a whiskey that is so young. However, we think if you appreciate well-made whiskey (and you have the money to spend), it’s worth giving it a try. It’s a whiskey that is good for putting in a flask and going camping in order to brave those cold mountain nights, or for using in a rye whiskey cocktail, as the flavor and proof will stand up to other ingredients.

Distillery 291 Colorado Rye Whiskey is 50.8 percent ABV and retails for around $70.

Feature image courtesy of Distillery 291/Facebook.