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All About Rye Whiskey


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#91 slkinsey

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Posted 03 May 2007 - 12:34 PM

I wish some of these new companies would come out with mixing-appropriate (in terms of price point and flavor profile) whiskies, but they all seem to try for the superpremium sipping whiskey niche. Assuming small Manhattans with 2 ounces of rye and 1 ounce of vermouth, each one made with Hudson Manhattan Rye would have around six bucks worth of whiskey in it. By volume, it's more espensive than Michter's 10 year.
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#92 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 03 May 2007 - 12:51 PM

I wish some of these new companies would come out with mixing-appropriate (in terms of price point and flavor profile) whiskies, but they all seem to try for the superpremium sipping whiskey niche.  Assuming small Manhattans with 2 ounces of rye and 1 ounce of vermouth, each one made with Hudson Manhattan Rye would have around six bucks worth of whiskey in it.  By volume, it's more espensive than Michter's 10 year.

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Agreed. Judging from people's reactions to the Anchor Distilling's single malt ryes, I can't see this stuff being a very appropriate mixer. Not that I'm averse to mixing with the good stuff on occasion: My one Old Fashioned with the Handy Saz was devine, and with the arrival of my Jade Absinthe imminent, the Ultimate Sazerac isn't too far away.

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#93 Nathan

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Posted 03 May 2007 - 03:49 PM

ah...the Edouard 72 makes an incredible Sazerac. use a good cognac (or rye if you must)...I find that a dash of simple doesn't hurt ...the Edouard is so potent.

#94 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 03 May 2007 - 06:44 PM

ah...the Edouard 72 makes an incredible Sazerac.  use a good cognac (or rye if you must)...I find that a dash of simple doesn't hurt ...the Edouard is so potent.

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That is precisely what I ordered :biggrin:

My roommate got the PF1901 and a friend from work the Nouvelle Orleans, so maybe a little taste test is in order. Will report back.

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#95 TBoner

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Posted 12 August 2007 - 06:45 PM

Bumping this for a couple of reasons.

First, it is true that Basil Hayden has a higher rye content than the other Small-Batch bourbons, but the others are all the same mashbill as Beam and Beam black, etc. They are, however, treated differently from barreling on, in terms of the barrels into which they are placed, their placement in the rickhouses, and of course, length of storage. This is all information gleaned from conversations I and others (including Chuck Cowdery, author of Bourbon, Straight) have had with Beam personnel.

Basil Hayden has a different yeast than other Beam bourbons, as well. When the Old Grand-Dad brand came to Beam (along with several others, including Overholt) from National Distillers in the late 80s, the one bourbon that was not converted to the standard beam mashbill and yeast was Old Grand-Dad. Basil Hayden is made from that mashbill (in fact, Basil Hayden IS the man pictured on the Old Grand-Dad label). If you've ever tasted OGD, either at 86 proof, BIB, or 114 proof, you'll know right away it has a high rye content (rumored to be between 25 and 30 percent of the mashbill). But barrel selection, age, and proof mean that Basil Hayden won't come across as spicy or floral as the other OGD whiskeys. I actually really like the BIB and 114-proof. The BIB is a great value at around $16-20, and the rye content comes through well in cocktails. An OGD BIB Old-Fashioned is a beautiful thing. And OGD 114 is a nice neat sipper, if a bit fiery at times. Basil Hayden, on the other hand, is a watered down version of the same with a bit of extra barrel age (but since the barrels selected seem to be light on char and wood notes, who cares?). But I guess when Beam introduced the Small-Batch collection, having at least one 80-proofer made sense.

As to the amount of rye in various straight rye whiskeys, I've been told many of them are "barely legal" at 51 percent. But then, a little rye goes a long way, so it doesn't take 70 percent rye to make it the dominant grain. Try a Buffalo Trace bourbon, a Beam or Heaven Hill, a Wild Turkey, and Old Grand-Dad side by side. BT bourbons are all 12 percent rye or less, Beam bourbons are closer to 15-20 percent, Wild Turkey slightly more, and OGD near 30 percent rye. You'll notice the influence in a huge way with only a 5 percent increase in rye from one whiskey to the next.

Edited by TBoner, 12 August 2007 - 06:46 PM.

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#96 J_Ozzy

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 08:27 PM

Has anyone given the Alberta Premium Limited Edition 25 Year Old a whirl yet? 100% rye mashbill, 80 proof, $27. I picked up a bottle this evening but haven't opened it yet.

Edited by J_Ozzy, 19 October 2007 - 08:28 PM.


#97 mkayahara

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 10:53 AM

Has anyone given the Alberta Premium Limited Edition 25 Year Old a whirl yet?  100% rye mashbill, 80 proof, $27.  I picked up a bottle this evening but haven't opened it yet.

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Yeah, I have a bottle. Even with the 100% rye content, it isn't anything remotely like an American straight rye - its character is still entirely Canadian. Taken on its own terms as a Canadian whisky, I found it quite nice: mellow, sweet, with lots of barrel character and the underlying spiciness that's the brand's house style. For me personally, I find it has a bit too much oak; I prefer the 10-year expression (sold under the label Alberta Springs).
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#98 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 12:58 AM

Anybody have an opinion on the new Russel's Reserve Rye? Made by the WT mater distiller Jimmy Russel, but the distributor rep said it was mostly a marketing thing to not put the turkey on the label (to get people who might otherwise shy from the high-proof reputation). If it's the same guy who makes regular wt rye it can't be terrible, but I was wondering if anybody has actually tried it yet.

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#99 TBoner

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 05:13 AM

I would say the comparison to WT Rye is similar to the comparison between WT 101 and Wild Turkey Russell's Reserve bourbon. The Russell's Reserve line is not visibly connected to Turkey anymore (the words Wild Turkey do not appear on the RR Rye label). The flavor profile is connected, but only loosely. The signature earth and cinnamon of WT Rye are present in the Russell's Reserve version, but age has knocked some of the fire out of the whiskey. So has a lower proof point. The result is a whiskey that is actually remarkably similar to the Baby Saz, though with less of Buffalo Trace's brown sugar signature. The first time I tasted it, I said, "Iced tea." It's endlessly drinkable, like iced tea. It's very refreshing. And, because of the cooling mint note on the finish, it would make a very nice addition to a glass of iced tea.
I love the regular WT rye (neat or in a cocktail, I think it's one of the best whiskeys in the market), so it's tough for me to say the Russell's Reserve is better. It's just markedly different. I don't think it would work in a Manhattan. It would definitely make a fine julep and a very good Sazerac. But it's probably best to just sip it neat. A good product, and an interesting direction for WT to move with its mid-shelf product line.

BTW, on a somewhat related note, I have it on pretty good authority that in just over a year, Beam is looking at putting a new product on the market for the first time in ages: a premium version of Old Overholt. Rejoice! More rye! (of course, they may reverse field, but I'm told they really want to compete with Baby Saz and WT for a market segment they didn't expect to exist).

Edited by TBoner, 28 November 2007 - 05:52 AM.

Tim

#100 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 11:19 AM

Wow thanks so much for the great notes. The liquor rep said he was going to bring me a sample but I don't know if I can wait that long now. And as for 100 proof Overholt? Woo-Hoo!

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#101 TBoner

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Posted 04 December 2007 - 04:43 PM

I picked up some Lucid today (finally got it in Dallas). The first thing I did (after trying a little straight, diluted, and then lightly sugared), was make a Sazerac with WTRR Rye. It's superb. The herbal complexity of the absinthe draws out mint and spice in turn from the whiskey, and the drink suffers from none of the muddiness that can afflict a WT Rye/ Herbsaint combination. I'd recommend the RR Rye for a Sazerac if you pick up a bottle.
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#102 Scotttos

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 04:52 AM

After missing the boat several times already I finally got my hands on a few bottles of the Van Winkle Family Reserve 13yr Rye. I wasn't actually looking for it when I found it but I'm very glad it caught my eye.

They are from the "I" bottling and are very, very good.

I asked the owner of the liquor store when he got them and he said just recently and that they were a pain in the ass to acquire. So head's up Van Winkle is out there again and it's pretty spectacular.

Edited by Scotttos, 06 December 2007 - 05:24 AM.


#103 TBoner

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 05:34 AM

I haven't tried the "I" bottling, but I do have the "H," which is the same stuff. Agreed that it is fantastic whiskey. I'm awaiting the arrival of "I" at my favorite store, but I may have to head for another locale and buy it while there's still some around, as I'm on my last bottle of "H." FWIW, the bottlings since "F" have all been identical. The whiskey in this line was 13 years old at the initial bottling. For the first few bottlings, it was a year older each year, as it was left in oak to continue aging. However, when it hit 19 years old, the whiskey was dumped into tanks, so it isn't aging anymore, just waiting for its annual bottling.

In other words, you're paying for a 13yo rye and getting a 19-yo. Enjoy :smile:
Tim

#104 Bricktop

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Posted 21 December 2007 - 05:22 AM

I picked up a bottle of the Sazerac 18 yo Fall 2007 bottling.
I'll be curious to see it side by side with the 2006 version,
and if I can pick up any differences. I doubt I will, but hey.

#105 mkayahara

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 08:49 AM

Today, I came across this article on an impending shortage of rye in the US. Money quote:

Rye flour stocks have been depleted in the United States, and by June or July there will be no more U.S. rye flour to purchase, said Lee Sanders, senior vice president for government relations and public affairs at the American Bakers Association.
[...]
She attributed the shortage to high demand for rye flour, which is used to make rye bread, and less acreage devoted to rye grain than in the past.

Is this going to have any impact on the production of rye whiskey?
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#106 Scotttos

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 08:57 AM

RE: Rittenhouse.

Lenell mentioned in her email newsletter that Rittenhouse is currently out of stock "everywhere" and we all have to wait until they age more of it. Is she referring to the 21/23 yr, or the regular bonded as well?

I've heard a lot of rumors about this but does anyone have any additional info?

Do we have to wait years?

I've noticed the bonded in a few places and the price keeps going up and up . . . .

#107 Chris Amirault

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 07:03 AM

I'd be interested to hear what people have to say about this. Rittenhouse 100 BIB is getting hard to find around here too.

ETA: Just talked to the folks at Joyal's in West Warwick, and they can't get it from the distributor.
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#108 marty mccabe

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 08:17 AM

In Boston, the MA distributor is out of it, and offering the same, "we're waiting for more to age," explanation.

I'm told to not expect any in MA before the end of the year, and then, expect it to be allocated.

And I'm talking about the "regular" bonded 100 proof rye...
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#109 slkinsey

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 08:25 AM

Well, they can't just snap their fingers and make the stuff to keep up with demand like a gin or vodka maker could do. It takes time to make Rittenhouse BIB. Time that is measured in years. Six of them, in fact.

I think what happened is that Heaven Hill had no idea six years ago the demand for Rittenhouse BIB would be anywhere near as high as it turned out to be. Keep in mind that it was only two years ago that rye whiskey was poised to be a darling of the cocktailian set. When we were talking about rye back in December 2005, brown spirits were the "new thing" and when we were all joking about how "rye is the new vodka" it was a bit of a joke. Fast-forward 28 months or so, and now it seems like everyone is drinking the stuff. It's not so "retro cutting edge" any more. That's tough, because there is a six-year lag in Heaven Hill's ability to respond to demand. I have to believe that they've significantly increased production, but it's still likely to be quite a while before Rittenhouse BIB is easily available nationwide throughout the year. In the meantime, I gather that they have selectively distributed most of it to areas of the country where it will keep the interest of a critical mass of buzz-generating mixologists and cocktail enthusiasts, who will hopefully come to think of the product as indispensable, and then when there is sufficient supply to meet with rising demand, they will distribute more widely.
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#110 lancastermike

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 11:29 AM

If one can locate Pikesville rye I would reccomend it as a good alternative to the Rittenhouse. I can't get it in PA but can in Maryland. I was once told the Pikesville is ONLY distributed in Maryland, but that I cannot confirm.

Of the ryes I have had, I find the Pikesville to be my favorite with a spiciness some others seem to lack

#111 weinoo

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 02:04 PM

Found a bottle of the Rittenhouse BIB today ($17.99) and added it to my stockpile.
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#112 Scotttos

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Posted 23 May 2008 - 05:15 AM

Well, they can't just snap their fingers and make the stuff to keep up with demand like a gin or vodka maker could do.  It takes time to make Rittenhouse BIB.  Time that is measured in years.  Six of them, in fact.


This wasn't ever in any doubt. I understand the strain, demand, and arduous aging process. What I wasn't sure of was whether HH finally depleted the current stock and how long we would actually have to wait for a steady stream of new product. I guess another concern (probably something I shouldn't worry about considering HH's track record) is will the new product be the same as the Rittenhouse BIB we've all come to know and love?

I imagine the dirt cheap price is a thing of the past, and honestly at 16, 17, 18 even 20 dollars i'd still by it by the boatload.

I guess I was curious if it was time to hoard, and from the responses so far it looks like it is indeed. I use so much of this stuff it's insane.

#113 Mike S.

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Posted 26 May 2008 - 10:23 PM

I've not read this entire thread so it's probably been mentioned along the way, but just in case: Wild Turkey 101 Rye is really quite good. I do like Rittenhouse BIB better, but if stocks are running low don't hesitate to bring in the Bird!
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#114 Chris Amirault

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 06:54 PM

Agreed: The Wild Turkey 101 is a swell product. But it's also inferior to, and $10 more than, the Rittenhouse BIB 100.

In mourning, having stopped at a few places this week that didn't carry the Rittenhouse or were out, I made a final Rittenhouse Red Hook.

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#115 scubadoo97

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 07:16 PM

I have been getting into making Manhattans recently and have been drinking bourbon for a few years but had never tasted rye. Very little to choose from in our local stores. The other day I picked up a bottle of the Wild Turkey Rye and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. I like it better than bourbon and it makes a great Manhattan.

#116 jmfangio

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 07:56 PM

Agreed: The Wild Turkey 101 is a swell product. But it's also inferior to, and $10 more than, the Rittenhouse BIB 100.

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Wow. I guess this is one of those areas where we can see drastic price difference between states. Here in Los Angeles, I've always found the two to be between $2-3 of each other. The Rittenhouse is usually cheaper than the Wild Turkey, but not always. That said, I'm out of Rittenhouse, and I can't find it anywhere.
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#117 Chris Amirault

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 08:01 PM

Around here, WT 80 is about $21-22, and WT 101 is $25-27. When it was available, I could find Rittenhouse for $15-17 bucks no problem.
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#118 jsmeeker

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 08:12 PM

WT 101 rye is the only rye I have had.

I don't think I ever saw Rittenhouse in my normal liquor store, but I didn't always look hard. But they do also carry Jim Beam Rye, Old Overholt, and Sazerac. If I wanted to get something other than WT 101 rye, just to change things up, what would you all suggest?

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#119 jmfangio

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 08:40 PM

Around here, WT 80 is about $21-22, and WT 101 is $25-27. When it was available, I could find Rittenhouse for $15-17 bucks no problem.

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Here the spread is usually between $17-22. The Rittenhouse 80 is usually around $15, and Old Olverholt around $13-16.
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#120 eje

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 09:09 PM

Agreed: The Wild Turkey 101 is a swell product. But it's also inferior to, and $10 more than, the Rittenhouse BIB 100.

In mourning, having stopped at a few places this week that didn't carry the Rittenhouse or were out, I made a final Rittenhouse Red Hook.

We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when....

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Yeah, no I don't agree.

I like both.

The Rittenhouse is beautiful in some applications and the Wild Turkey in others.

I suppose it kind of depends on my mood.

But anyway, to me, I kind of like the Rittenhouse in more civilized Manhattan type applications and the Wild Turkey in things like Sazeracs and Old-Fashioneds.

I really don't see why we should be without either one. Bastards.
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