Stories make for great conversation. They entertain and captivate the mind far better than any other form of discussion. There are a lot of fun ones out there, but sometimes a story so good comes along that you just couldn't make up in your head if you tried. This is absolutely the case when it comes to how Wyoming Whiskey's renowned Outryder originally came to be.
Wyoming Whiskey Tries to Capitalize on Rye Craze
As you may or may not know, Bourbon Hall of Famer and former Maker’s Mark Master Distiller Steve Nally was hired to run all Wyoming Whiskey production in Kirby when the company was created. A seemingly minor detail but it really needs to be mentioned up front. From there, the story goes, that when trying to capitalize on the early trend in rye whiskeys circa 2010, Co-Founder David DeFazio put a pointed request in with Nally that he develop a rye.
Nally expressed reluctance to follow orders, telling DeFazio that “No, I don’t want to make rye” and clearly communicated his distaste for the spirit. Over a few months, the founders strongly encouraged the Bourbon Hall of Famer to reconsider his position and Nally ultimately surrendered to the request — albeit defiantly. Two different whiskies were laid down in November and December of 2011 at the behest of DeFazio and his partner Brad Mead. Nally made nearly 100 barrels of “rye” and 200 barrels of bourbon made with rye.
"I Told You I Don't Make Rye."
A couple of years after these whiskies were made, Nally left Wyoming Whiskey to return home to spend more time with his family and pursue other projects. Fast forward to 2016 when it was time to bottle the nearly 5 year-old-barrels of bourbon and “rye”. Wyoming Whiskey’s Distiller, Sam Mead, called DeFazio to explain that the whiskey Nally produced was only 48% rye, which disqualified it from the rye whiskey category. The team was stunned and dumbfounded. How could it be?
DeFazio paid a phone call to Nally and said “I want you to know that the “rye” you made is spectacular … but why did you only use 48% rye in the mash bill?” Nally responded with an implied smirk, “Because I told you I didn’t want to make rye.”
A Mountain Whiskey That is Worthy of Après Ski
I recently had the opportunity to hear this story from DeFazio first hand when I capitalized on an invitation to taste Wyoming Whiskey's 7-year-old expression of its signature Outryder Straight American Whiskey that it will be releasing this fall. As funny as this story is in print, it is even funnier to hear his tell it in person and stands up really well to how amazing Wyoming Whiskey's newest release is.
While craft beer tends to be the king of the après ski spirits world thanks to It's easy drinking nature, some ski days you need a bit more warming. Especially when the temps dip well below freezing and the chill in your body manifests itself in your bones. Those are the days you want, rather need, a good whiskey and this newest rendition delivers.
Chocolate, Minty Spice and Everything Nice
I could give you the whole spiel on candied ginger notes and medium viscosity blah, blah, blah but, at the end of the day, I know that is not what you are looking for here. Bottom line is, it is good and differs greatly from the 5 year version. Whereas the 5 year has more maple, cinnamon, butterscotch notes that balance out the spice character of the rye, I did not experience the same sweetness from the 7 year. Don't get me wrong, it is there but more chocolate in nature with an added mint presence that only magnifies the rye spice.
Either way, there is no doubt the the newest version, available this November will be an excellent choice for your next après ski cocktail this winter and certainly warm you up after a cold day on the mountain.