Hello again ModernThirst readers! Today we’ll begin on the final review of this takeover trifecta series, the Grand Traverse Islay Rye whiskey.  This is a whiskey that has what appears on paper to be an 80/20 rye to barley mash bill with one unique twist…… the barley is peat smoked like scotch malt.  As I covered the history of Grand Traverse in my first review in the series, we’ll move right along to the review.


  • Beautiful medium brown to ruby with long thick legs in the glass


  • Roasted malt, white pepper, cacao, peat, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, grass


  • Slight caramel moving to the same characteristics of the nose, also tobacco, clove, banana, raisin, and coriander


  • Thick, lingering mouthfeel fades into a peppermint-like candy note.


  • 94
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Grand Traverse Islay Rye

94 Superb

Grand Traverse's interesting experiment to meld the worlds of American rye whiskey and scotch single malt whisky was ultimately a huge success. This whiskey is a game-changer. I hope to see other craft and specialty distillers innovate similarly. Sweet, smoky, malty, but at the same time grassy and peppery, this one hits all the right notes. Get it if you can find it.

  • Grand Traverse Islay Rye Whiskey 94

About Author

Nick is a veteran writer about all things spirits, an avid brewer of craft brews, and self-proclaimed whiskey fanatic from Houston, TX. He had written for close to a decade about spirits for Examiner.com but is also a systems administrator by trade in the field of IT. He's been spotted at several high-profile tasting events all over Houston, and has made tons of friends in the beer, wine, and spirits world over the years. He is married with two sons, and currently resides in the Houston suburb of Tomball. You can follow him on Twitter @fykusfire.

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