If you don’t know the Uncle Nearest story, it’s worth pouring yourself a glass of whiskey and familiarizing yourself with the brand. Launched in 2017, Nearest Green Distillery has racked up accoladess since its first whiskey hit the market. Now, Uncle Nearest is embarking on an ambitious expansion that will add three permanent expressions to its portfolio before the end of 2022.
That trio includes Uncle Nearest Straight Rye Whiskey, Uncle Nearest Single Barrel Black Label, and Uncle Nearest Single Barrel Rye.
Uncle Nearest Straight Rye is the first to hit shelves. The 100-proof whiskey was hand-selected by four-time Master Blender of the Year and great-great-granddaughter of Nearest Green, Victoria Eady Butler. It features a bold nose and a palate brimming with light vanilla cream, caramelized sugar, and rye spice.
“It took us a while to release our 100-proof straight rye whiskey,” says Butler, noting that it had to live up to the reputation of the brand’s other whiskeys. “My great-great-grandfather’s legacy of excellence requires us to take our time to do things differently. I’m confident he would have been so proud of this straight rye whiskey.”
Due to the challenges around growing rye in Tennessee, Uncle Nearest Straight Rye originates in Canada but follows the exact American specifications required to be a straight rye whiskey. It’s aged in New York for a minimum of four years before moving down to Tennessee, where it is then rested in used Uncle Nearest barrels for additional maturation. The liquid is then tasted, barrel by barrel, and blended by Butler.
“When I was doing my research on Nearest Green, I came across a handwritten letter from President William Taft,” says Fawn Weaver, the founder and CEO of Uncle Nearest. “The letter was dated May 16, 1911, and was addressed to his U.S. Secretary of War, Jacob M. Dickinson, thanking him for sending his favorite rye whiskey ‘of the Lincoln County variety.’ 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.”
Uncle Nearest Straight Rye Whiskey ($59) is available nationwide at select stores, online, and at the Nearest Green Distillery in Shelbyville, Tennessee. This whiskey will soon be followed by the release of Uncle Nearest Single Barrel Black Label ($79) on November 25 and Uncle Nearest Single Barrel Rye ($89) on December 15.