Never Say Die Rye Review

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Never Say Die Rye is distilled in Kentucky, then shipped to England, where it is further aged, proofed down and bottled. It has bright rye flavors, with added complexity from some unexpected notes. Read our full review to learn all about it!
Never Say Die
Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
105 Proof
Non-Age Stated (but ~6 Years)
MSRP: $84.95 / 700ml
Review

Please enjoy our Never Say Die Rye Whiskey review!

Kentucky Provenance English Character.
Distilled and matured in Kentucky, additionally aged, proofed and bottled in England.

The Never Say Die Story

Once, there was a horse named Never Say Die, and his story is really quite amazing. As the story goes, Never Say Die had a rough birth and his chances of making it through the night were slim. Fortunately for the foal, festivities were going on in the home of his owners. Consequently, one of the guests was a famed horseman, and went to the foal’s aid, and poured a shot of bourbon down his throat. By morning, Never Say Die had made a miraculous recovery, and in the process, earned his name.

But, the story doesn’t end there. Never Say Die’s racing career took place in England. At one point, he was entered into the biggest race of the time, the Epsom Derby. His odds were 33-1 in a field of 22 horses. In spite of those odds, he won.

Mona Best, The Quarrymen & A Club

Mona Best, a woman who lived in Liverpool, England, had great faith in Never Say Die. She supposedly sold all of her jewelry and bet the proceeds on the long shot horse. After her windfall, she purchased a home, transforming the basement into a music venue for her sons, Pete and Rory. That club was called the Casbah Coffee Club. A local band, The Quarrymen, played in the club frequently, and were briefly the resident band.

As it turned out, three members of the Quarrymen were John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. They, would, of course, later on become three of the four Beatles. In 1960, Pete Best, Mona’s son, would become their first drummer. He would eventually be replaced by Ringo Starr, and the rest is Beatles history.

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But What About Never Say Die Rye?

Never Say Die Rye was distilled and aged to maturity in Danville, KY. It was then shipped to England, and aged for another year or so. Finally, it was proofed down with English water, and bottled. Although it was originally released in England, some of the rye has been shipped back to United States. In fact, it is starting to hit store shelves now.

The mash bill used is 56% rye, 33% corn, and 11% malted barley. Some people might recognize that as the same mash bill used for Wilderness Trail Rye. For those who aren’t familiar with Wilderness Trail Distillery, it coincidentally is also located in Danville, KY. Never Say Die Rye is bottled at 105 proof.

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Tasting Notes – Never Say Die Rye Review

Let’s taste it:

🛏 Rested for 15 minutes in a Glencairn Glass

👉🏻Nose: Plums and dark cherries; sweet floral notes; brown sugar; cedar; rye spices; subtle hickory smoke in the background; relatively light alcohol for the proof
👉🏻Taste: Relatively light rye spices that become more evident with each sip; touch of anise; brown sugar and subtle buttery light caramel; hickory smoke notes in the background; tart lime citrus; growing black pepper spice
👉🏻Finish: Fairly pronounced black pepper spice, which lingers for a long time; rye spices; increasing tannins; lingering lime peel; barrel char; mild dry oak; long with a pleasant warmth

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It Took A Little While For The Flavors To Fully Develop

It took a day or so after opening this bottle for the flavors to fully develop. Never Say Die Rye has rye characteristics, no doubt, with citrus and floral notes, rye spices and cedar on the nose. There’s also some added brown sugar. However, it also has stone fruits, like plums and dark cherries. They were most noticeable upon fist opening the bottle, but have diminished somewhat over time. They are now most noticeable in the nose, early on. In the background is a subtle flavor that is difficult to pin down. However, the best I can tell, it is hickory smoke.

Similar flavors continue into the taste, with the rye spices, particularly cloves, becoming more evident with each sip. There’s also plenty of brown sugar and tart lime citrus, with lingering subtle hickory smoke, too. The long finish becomes somewhat more dry, with plenty of black pepper, some tannins, dry oak, tart lime citrus, and mild barrel char.

A Very Complex Rye

Never Say Die Rye is a very complex rye. The flavors range from stone fruits to citrus to rye spices to tannins, black pepper and dry oak; really the whole gamut is covered. Added to that, the flavors evolve over the course of the glass. Although Never Say Die Rye was distilled and initially aged at Wilderness Trail Distillery, it has quite a different character than Wilderness Trail’s own rye, despite the identical mash bill and very similar first 5 or so years of life. The spiciness is mellowed a bit in Never Say Die Rye, and the stone fruits are added in its place. Also, the subtle hickory smoke is not present in the Wilderness Trail Rye. The ocean voyages back and forth to England, the additional aging in the English climate, and the proofing down with English water, are all presumably accounting for the difference in flavors.

Bottle & Glencairn Glass - Never Say Die Rye Review
Conclusion – Never Say Die Rye Review

Never Say Die Rye will likely be enjoyed by anyone who is a fan of spicy, citrusy ryes, but who would also appreciate the addition of some other less typical flavors, such as stone fruits, with added balance from brown sugar and light caramel. If these flavors and complexity sound enticing to you, then you’ll want to give Never Say Die Rye a try!🥃


We hope you have enjoyed our Never Say Die Rye review! If you would like to read about other ryes distilled at Wilderness Trail Distillery, check out our Wilderness Trail 7 Year Rye and my Wilderness Trail Small Batch Rye reviews! You can also learn more about Wilderness Trail Distillery in our Wilderness Trail Distillery Tour Review!


This bottle was graciously provided by the company for my review. Thank you!

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