It’s the middle of October, which means it’s 80 degrees and sunny here in Charleston, South Carolina. It’s appropriate weather for a lazy Sunday afternoon, and since I’m the only one I know not cooped up on a couch or hanging out in a sports bar drooling over a football game, I figured I’d pour a sample of Jefferson’s 21 year Rye, head to the park, and revisit a whiskey I’ve been on the fence about for almost a year.

Jefferson's Presidential Select 21 Year Rye Whiskey

The last, first, and only time I’ve had a pour of this whiskey was last winter with friends and family back in Kentucky. It was an exceptionally brutal winter where tending to horses outside in the cold led to an agenda of opening some strong winter warmers. Of course, rye was the top priority on that list.

This Jefferson’s whiskey didn’t leave a lasting impression then, but it was also unfairly mixed up with some more–dare I say–sophisticated company that stole the spotlight (more on those in posts to follow). I imagined an isolated tasting in a more serene setting might prove beneficial to its cause. Let’s get to the notes and find out.

The Whiskey

Jefferson’s Presidential Select 21 Year Old Straight Rye Whiskey. This sample is poured from Batch 2 at 90.4 proof.


Light notes of smooth caramel jump right out of the glass in a big way as a tiny burn hits the back of the sinuses. Syrupy and sweet. Others have noted maple, but I’m not getting much of that here. As it opens up, darker notes emerge and the nose relaxes into subtle clove and anise. A very pleasant first act after a sweet introduction.

This whiskey drinks a little hotter than you’d expect at 90.4 proof, but it’s not aggressive. The sweetness of the nose doesn’t follow to the palate, and the caramel is almost lost, but that isn’t necessarily not to be expected. The mouthfeel is a little thin and dry. Toasted oak notes hang out with hints of black cherry. Not bad.

Faint traces of anise hit the back of the throat just before a bitter finish introduces itself. There’s a lingering funkiness that calls for a sip of water. In the same fashion as mentioned before, the funky finish isn’t aggressive, but it’s definitely there.


Overall I’d say this would be a solid grab at a price point in the range of $40-$60, but at well north of $100, not so much. The nose is as fantastic as it is misleading. Definitely a good pour, but nothing special in my opinion. The finish just doesn’t do it’s job and that’s where I’m left making the final call.

Grade: B

I suppose my initial sentiments stand, but I still had an enjoyable sip in the park with beautiful weather. Perhaps that’s worth a B+?