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Dillon’s Rye Whisky Review

Dillon’s Rye Whisky Review

Dillon’s Rye Whisky comes from the Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers operation in Ontario, Canada.  They’ve been in business since 2012, which makes them young, but yet old enough to start incorporating some lessons learned.  They release a large variety of spirits, but being from Canada, us American’s are really only interested about their rye whiskey.  This bottle was a gift to me from friends who recently visited Canada and knew I liked rye whiskey, so they brought me a bottle of this, which was super generous of them. 

Bottle Size & Mashbill

For starters, this bottle looks small because it is small:  500ml, which I’ve honestly never seen a whiskey come in that size.  The rye inside comes in at 86 proof and it claims on the label that the batch has been aged in 3 different kinds of barrels: New Ontario Oak, New American Oak and “First Fill Bourbon” (which is really a play on words for being “Second Fill” I believe).  Regardless, the color is extremely pale, denoting the lack of proof.  But I suppose that most Canadian barrel ryes are very pale, even as they mature into their teenage years.  Of note: this rye whiskey says it uses 100% rye in its mashbill, but it’s actually 90% rye and 10% malted rye.  Interesting!

So how does this taste?  Let’s get down to it and have a pour.  I sampled this neat and in a glencairn.

Tasting Notes


Dillon's Rye Whisky_1

Nose: The nose is very vegetal.  In fact, I don’t think I can compare this directly with another rye whiskey I’ve had.  I’m searching very hard to pull out some notes that get past that vegetal nose but when I do, I recognize damp forest floor, some dried apricots, very old banana bread and a bit of chocolate bar.  The nose doesn’t have much sweetness, but I think I detect a little bit of butterscotch.  There’s some floral notes like lilac flowers, but this is very faint. 

Palate: The vegetal scent transforms into a taste that overwhelms the palate.  There’s wet cardboard, some black pepper, a little bit of clove and anise.  There’s not much sweetness, but what there is tastes like a butterscotch pudding cup.  There’s some unsweetened dried fruit chunks that hang around.  Then, a note that I think actually sums it up very well: Flat champagne.  Honestly, not much that indicates this is an outright rye whiskey except it is funky enough to not have me think it’s a bourbon.

Finish: The flat champagne taste lingers for a while.  It’s very strange with some mild herbal properties dashing in and out.  There’s very little spice on the finish and still is kind of devoid of sweetness. 

Score: 4.8/10


Dillon's Rye Whisky

Not my favorite rye or even an average rye.  It’s disappointing to say to such a nice gift was so lackluster, but here we are.  The proof really brought this down several pegs.  However, I’ve seen past reviews on a bottle of this that was a single barrel, barrel proof bottling.  And that’s what this bottle needs… more proof. 

Final Thoughts

I realize with Canada’s strange and archaic liquor laws, that barrel proof products are really hard to get approved to bottle and sell, but there has to be a workaround to get more of those bottles out to the market in a higher proof form… and to maybe increase this to 90 or 95 proof.  It just needs more “oomph.”  Until then, the bottle has a fantastic look, the price is right and the fact it’s not a product from a huge distiller makes it all somewhat desirable.  But it all comes down to the proof, and that’s why your money should probably be spent on something else.

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Rating Breakdown

1 | Disgusting | Drain pour

2 | Poor | Forced myself to drink it

3 | Bad | Flawed

4 | Sub-par | Many things I’d rather have

5 | Good | Good, solid, ordinary

6 | Very Good | Better than average

7 | Great | Well above average

8 | Excellent | Exceptional

9 | Incredible | Extraordinary

10 | Insurpassable | Nothing Else Comes Close

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