Nearest Green Distillery launched its first new, nationally available whiskey today.
The whiskey, Uncle Nearest Straight Rye Whiskey, is available at its distillery and will be available online and at retailers across the country this November, and it is the first nationally distributed whiskey since the 2019 release of its 1884 Small Batch Whiskey.
Uncle Nearest Straight Rye follows the sold-out launch of Uncle Nearest Uncut/Unfiltered Rye Whiskey, a distillery exclusive released earlier this year. The new whiskey already was named best n class t The Drinks Business & Spirits Business Autumn Tasting.
“It took us a while to release our 100-proof straight rye whiskey,” says Victoria Eady Butler, master blender. “If we were going to add rye to our lineup, it had to be worth of all the accolades and awards our other whiskeys receive. My great-great-grandfather’s legacy of excellence requires us to take our time. I’m confident he would have been so proud of this straight rye whiskey.”
Uncle Nearest Straight Rye was also added to the distillery’s permanent lineup, along with Uncle Nearest Single Barrel Black Label and Uncle Nearest Single Barrel Rye. Uncle Nearest Straight Rye is available at nearest Green Distillery starting today, and it will be rolled out nationally throughout the month of November.
“Our four-time master blender of the year, Victoria Eady Butler, has truly knocked this blend out of the park,” says Fawn Weaver, founder and CEO. “We are excited to introduce you to your new favorite rye.”
Because of the challenges of growing rye in Tennessee, this whiskey started out in Canada, where it was made according to the exact American specifications to require it to be a straight rye whiskey, and then it is aged in New York for at least four years before moving to Tennessee, where it is rested in used Uncle Nearest barrels for added maturation. Then, each barrel is tasted individually, and then blended by Butler.
When Weaver was doing her research on Nearest Green, she came across a very peculiar letter. It was a letter from the White House, specifically from President William Taft, on May 16, 1911.
In the letter, President Taft was thanking Jacob McGavock “Mac” Dickinson, former U.S. Secretary of War under Taft, for sending his favorite rye whiskey “of the Lincoln County variety.”
This unusual mention stood out to Weaver, who believes that there had been some whiskeys made with rye. Now, Taft could have been mistaken and attributed the wrong grain description. Because so many of the Jack Daniels Distillery records of that time period were either lost or burned, Weaver took the letter at its word. The letter, accompanied by the historical description of how Dickinson had been introduced to Jack Daniel likely means that at that time, some of their whiskeys were made with rye.
There’s also a good chance that the whiskey Dickinson sent Taft was made by Nearest Green’s son, George, based on the length of years Jack Daniel kept his whiskey in the barrels at that time.
“This letter led me to believe rye whiskeys were being made in this area so after I found that letter, there was no doubt in my mind, a straight rye whiskey would one day be added to our portfolio of whiskeys,” Weaver says.
Uncle Nearest Straight Rye Whiskey retails for $59. Uncle Nearest Single Barrel Black Label will be released on Black Friday for $79, and Uncle Nearest Single Barrel Rye will be released on Dec. 15 for $89. The rollouts of these ryes are part of Uncle Dearest’s “12 Weeks of Christmas,” which includes special promotions like bottle signings and limited time offerings like a Legacy Collection Ultimate gift Set, which will contain all seven Uncle Nearest whiskeys.