It feels like a lifetime ago that The Thirsty Travellers were invited to the launch of Master’s Keep Cornerstone Rye.
An intimate dinner was booked for March 18 at the award-winning Restaurant Hubert in Sydney’s CBD. The night promised to be filled with tastings, stories and pairings of the Master’s Keep series. Sadly, the event was cancelled on March 16 due to COVID-19.
The decision was an understandable but disappointing one, as we loved attending the launch of Master’s Keep Revival at The Rocks Room last year. We’d been looking forward to trying both Restaurant Hubert and Master’s Keep Cornerstone Rye.
The restaurant was planning to serve us a rye and carrot salad, followed by pork chops crumbed in rye bread with duck fat roasted potatoes, finishing with rye chocolate cake. But we will have to wait a few more months to taste the amazing food at Restaurant Hubert.
Fortunately, once Australia settled into its new “normal”, Wild Turkey sent us a bottle of Master’s Keep Cornerstone Rye to sample at home. And we finally got the chance to sip it beside the fire on Sunday night.
We invited our neighbour Gav (above) around to give his verdict on the special drop – he’s a huge whiskey fan and has visited many of the top distilleries in Kentucky.
Cornerstone Rye is the oldest rye ever released by Wild Turkey. Master Distiller Eddie Russell found inspiration for the limited release from his son Bruce, whose passion for the spirit has contributed to the rise of rye whiskey production from 100,000 barrels in 2010, to now more than one million barrels.
For decades, rye has served as a key pillar of whiskey production on Wild Turkey Hill. While Prohibition caused rye whiskey to fall from favour for decades, Wild Turkey was among the few distilleries to remain dedicated to the craft – which continues to this day with expressions including Wild Turkey Rye, Wild Turkey 101 Rye, Russell’s Reserve 6-Year-Old Rye and Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Rye. This new expression is the culmination of more than 150 years of Kentucky artisanship and heritage.
Rye whiskies are typically aged for around four years. For Master’s Keep Cornerstone Rye, Russell explored the flavours and complexity that longer ageing can provide. He hand picked from among his oldest #4 alligator char barrels – each filled with rye aged between nine and 11 years.
The resulting whiskey delivers notes of warm vanilla, black pepper and toasted rye, followed by a cascade of honey and baked apple. The finish is bold, crisp and clean, with lingering notes of sweet spice and oak.
The Thirsty Travellers’ verdict? It’s a luscious, striking addition to the Master’s Keep series and perfect for winter sipping. Gav declared it a delicious drop.
Master’s Keep Cornerstone Rye at 109 proof (54.5 alc. by volume), will be a limited release with only 3000 bottles of this unique spirit available for purchase in Australia.
Cornerstone Rye is available at Dan Murphy’s and good independent whiskey retailers for RRP $250 per 750mL bottle.