Duke Grand Cru Founders Reserve Double Barrel Rye

American Whiskey Review #14: Duke Grand Cru Founders Reserve Double Barrel Rye

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Distillery: ? / Aged at OZ Tyler

Region: Kentucky

ABV: 49%

Age: NAS

Barrel: Finished in an ex-Cabernet cask used once already for their Grand Cru 9 Year Bourbon

Price: $22.50 for a very hefty “double” pour

Color: 1.7, Burnt Umber.


Nose: Loads and loads of caramel, it’s like you’re standing in front of a pot of caramel. A bit of rye and then a bit of heat.

Palate: Very rich mouthfeel. There’s a lot of that spicy, bold rye note that’s supplemented by a few rich flavors. There’s caramel popcorn, a very rich cherry cola, and a bit of peanut butter. There’s a bit of heat in this one as well.

Finish: Medium in length. There’s a lot of oak, some rye, a tiny hint of cabernet, and a small bit of cherry cola.

Conclusion: I recently reviewed the Duke Grand Cru Founders Reserve 9 Year Bourbon (say that five times fast…) and really enjoyed it so I had high expectations for their rye version. Unfortunately, I have to say it wasn’t quite as nice. While there is a bit of depth of flavor beyond the usual bundle of rye spices in caramel popcorn, cherry cola, and peanut butter, it’s a bit hot and toes the line with “too harsh” too much for my liking. It appears that it took a lot of flavor notes from the Bourbon version (peanuts, cherry cola, caramel, corn) making this more of a high rye imitation of that one than its own thing. If it had a little more time to mellow out, I think it might’ve done better. I did get the last few ounces out of the bottle though so perhaps it’s just oxidized a little too much and turned for the worse. Would I buy a bottle? No. But I would try it again from a not as empty bottle.

Final Score: 80.

American Whiskey review #14, Rye Whiskey Review #3, Whisky Network Review #152


Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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