• Seth

J.W. Kelley Golden Age Rye Whiskey Review

A good rye at a great value.

Type: Straight rye

Distillery: undisclosed, distilled in Kentucky

Proof: 94

Age: minimum of 2 years

Retail: $29.99

With an exciting mash bill of 65% rye, 20% malted barley, and 15% malted rye, and bottled at an impressive 94 proof (47% ABV), this luscious straight rye whiskey is matured in top of the line oak barrels for a minimum of two years.



This is enjoyably sweet. I'm getting marshmallow and a nice dose of citrus. Citrus isn't the only fruit note though as there's a bit of raisin as well. Beyond that I find caramel and a little oak. There's virtually no ethanol at all so you can really dive in and explore the aroma of this one.


While there was no burn on the nose, the first sip here comes with a nice kick. Rather than citrus, I'm getting bananas foster. The malted grains create a nice, fresh yeast roll characteristic as well. There's also a touch of oak, which isn't always findable in a 2 year whiskey. Rounding things out, I get a hint of clove and tobacco.


This is short to medium and on the milder side. The sweeter elements continue throughout the finish.


I like the transparency with the mash bill and I think the element of malted grains adds a nice touch. I'm a sucker for anything with a banana note, especially in a rye, and I'm impressed that they've been able to achieve those flavors in just 2 years. This is a good rye, but when you add in the price point of just $29, this becomes a great value rye. I'm excited to follow J.W. Kelly to see what they have coming next.

This bottle was provided at no cost by J.W. Kelly & Co. Thoughts and opinions are my own.



Rating Scale:

This is a general guide of what I consider each score range

4.75 - 5.00: Phenomenal. Hard to imagine anything better. Acquire at any cost.

4.25 - 4.50: Excellent. I'll camp out to get a bottle if necessary.

3.75 - 4.00: Great stuff. I'll buy backups if not too expensive.

3.25 - 3.50: Good stuff. Try to keep one on the bar, but don't spend too much.

2.75 - 3.00: Not bad. I don't regret the purchase, but may not buy another.

2.25 - 2.50: Sub-par. I regret the purchase. Reserved for mixed drinks.

1.75 - 2.00: Bad. I'll struggle to finish the bottle. May not want it in cocktails.

0.00 - 1.50: Drain-pour. Something seems wrong with it. Get it away.