First Call Rye Whiskey by IJW Whiskey Company

First Call Kentucky Straight Rye Review

IJW Whiskey Company⁠
First Call⁠
Kentucky Straight Rye (and Bourbon) Whiskey⁠
90 proof⁠
$20.99 bourbon, $21.99 rye⁠
About IJW Whiskey Company

First Call Kentucky Straight Rye is bottled by the IJW Whiskey Company. Have you heard of IJW Whiskey? I didn’t think so. You are probably thinking “Hey, isn’t that a new craft distillery?” Well, no. IJW has been quietly accumulating barrels since 2016 and they have about 100,000 stockpiled. We’ve noticed their warehouses appear over the years along the far side of Wilderness Trail’s property, but we never really knew what or who they were.⁠

And we still don’t. The little we do know is from the few things written about them such as from this recent article from Whisky Advocate. They apparently have partnered with 5 distilleries and have a wide variety of whiskeys maturing in their warehouses. They may or may not have a relationship with the University of Michigan and a Canadian-run private equity fund.⁠

First Call Rye Whiskey by IJW Whiskey Company
First Call Rye Whiskey by IJW Whiskey Company
First Call Rye & Bourbon

According to the First Call website: “First Call Kentucky Straight Bourbon and Rye Whiskeys were crafted in homage to America’s original sport, thoroughbred racing, and Kentucky’s iconic role in its development. As far back as the early eighteenth century, before the introduction of thoroughbreds to North America, the bugler inspired spectators and racers with the “The First Call” or “The Call to the Post,” signaling that “it’s off to the races.””⁠

While that is an interesting explanation of their name, they do not give us any details about their bourbon and rye. One might guess that the rye is from Wilderness Trail Distillery since their warehouses open onto their property, but that, or any other information, isn’t provided.⁠ Bardstown Bourbon Company is also producing for them, but that seems a less likely rye source, although they do make Chicken Cock rye.

Tasting Notes

Let’s taste the Rye:⁠

👉🏻Nose: Rye spices, bubblegum, butterscotch; mild alcohol⁠
👉🏻Taste: Butterscotch and rye spices with a thin mouthfeel rapidly give way to char and dryness which….⁠
👉🏻Finish: …grow and continue into the finish. Short to medium length, with a mild burn⁠

If I had to guess, I would think there was a fair amount of corn in this mashbill. The rye notes are there, but they are subdued, as are all the flavors. The finish is thin and dry. It tastes, well, watered down. I wonder what it would have been like at barrel proof…🤔⁠

Have you had the First Call Kentucky Straight Rye, or the bourbon? What did you think? Cheers!🥃

Buy Bourbon Obsessed Hats & Glencairns

Want to read about another Kentucky rye? Check out our review of Wilderness Trail Settlers Select Rye!

Are you interested in learning more about individual distilleries? Do you need information to help you plan your own distillery visits? If so, we can help. At we have an interactive map of ALL of the Kentucky distilleries, as well as useful information for planning your visits. Check us out today!