“Our rye basically starts with just a hint of sweetness,” founder and distiller of Taylor Garrett Spirits Scott Feuille said. “Then, you start to get the rye spice. Rye is known as kind of an earthy, spicy grain. It’s a little bit rougher to some palates than your sweeter, corn-based bourbons.”
Taylor Garrett Rye, the bold and rugged sibling of its whiskey sibling, made its debut just last fall at Vara Winery & Distillery. Feuille says the original Taylor Garrett Whiskey is a bourbon mash made of 65% corn with 25% rye and 10% malted barley. The Rye, however, is an inversion of the original, made up of 65% rye, giving the whiskey more of a spicy note everyone can enjoy.
That sweet and rich taste isn’t the only aspect of the new rye that makes it stand out from the pack; its creator’s background and ingenuity are also reflected in the final product.
Feuille said he has always harbored a love for breweries and microbreweries. A pilot by trade, Feuille’s globe-trotting career has allowed him the experience of sampling high quality spirits all over the world. From tequilas in Mexico to rums throughout the Caribbean, Dallas, Texas, and Louisville, Kentucky, the camaraderie between the brewers and the level of quality put into every product was what drew him in instantly.
“That’s where I got turned on to whiskeys and what was happening in the American whiskey. I thought to myself, ‘oh, this could be cool. I want to do something and have that creative outlet to do something different.’ So, of course, I went into distilling first, and came to understand the chemistry of it.”
His work eventually led him to forming a partnership with VARA Wines in June of 2019.
Taylor Garrett’s brand also holds close ties to both Feuille’s family and aviation background. Five plane-like symbols zoom to the top of the bottle while the company’s name pays homage to his six-year-old son, Tyson Garrett, and four-year-old daughter, Brooke Taylor.
“My son, Tyson, likes to say, ‘there’s Dad, there’s Mom, there’s me, there’s Brooke, and there’s Trooper, the dog,” Feuille said with a laugh. “That’s where the design comes from. That’s our story.”
The second unique aspect of the brand is its use of accelerated aging. Along with the original Taylor Garrett Whiskey, the Rye is locally produced in New Mexico and aged with an accelerated process invented by Feuille himself.
Dubbed the “Taylor Garrett accelerated aging process,” Feuille’s system ages the whiskey eight to ten years in the span of only six to seven days. Additionally, he claims he has also had success using it for wine-based beverages and other spirits. The innovative procedure has attracted no shortage of skepticism, but Feuille believes the proof is in the glass.
“Ultimately, it’s a purely natural process,” he said. “Everything that happens in my process is what’s happening in a barrel. But in a barrel, the first six months to a year, there’s oxidation of the spirit, and there’s the formation of a compound called ethyl acetate. That oxidative effect is what allows the rest of the aging to happen, and I’ve found a way to achieve that same oxidative effect in about the first twenty-four hours. The rest of the time, the whiskey is exposed to wood, just as it would be in a barrel. But, because the wood is inside the barrel, the whiskey is exposed to all four sides. This results in the usage of a quarter of the wood that is used in traditional cooperage.”
Given its unique inception, Feuille has hopes his spirits’ proud New Mexican roots will appeal to audiences of all sorts outside the region. While he believes there is a full spectrum of palates in New Mexico and throughout the United States, Feuille believes that Taylor Garrett Whisky and Rye will still stand out among the rest. He invites all to head on down to Vara Winery & Distillery for a glass themselves.
“The best whiskey in the world is the one you’re going to drink,” he said.