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ChrisTaylor

All About Rye Whiskey (Part 2)

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Posted (edited)
Just now, abenc85 said:

 

It was in fact the bottled in bond - maybe my palate has a problem with Rye then!

I don't think so. I think it's just a matter of time if you enjoy bourbon already. :)

It's too bad that you didn't keep the Rittenhouse to experiment with it a bit more. I know that one of the first drinks that made me love rye was a Rattlesnake made with Rittenhouse. The egg white foam tempered things considerably and I was able to really enjoy the flavors of the rye. Another one was the Brooklyn because the sweetness from the maraschino liqueur balances out the spiciness of the rye very well. These were easier to love in the beginning compared to a rye Manhattan which I absolutely love now, but would consider an "advanced" drink because the rye is so front and center.


Edited by FrogPrincesse (log)

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2 hours ago, abenc85 said:

The obvious answer is, don't drink Rye Whiskey, but hear me out!

 

I am a huge cocktail fan and I can usually gauge whether or not I will like a drink based on the recipe. I thoroughly enjoy mixed drinks using Bourbon, Irish whiskey, Scotch & Islay Scotch in fact it is safe to say many of my favourites come from the whisky category. On paper, I really like the sound of Rye cocktails and so I picked up a bottle of Rittenhouse Rye. I immediately tried a Manhattan, a favourite drink with Bourbon (Manhattan sweet) and I find it far too dry and spicy and couldn't finish it. I've found that same incredible dryness and spice comes through in other drinks I've tried and I can't get past it, so I've given up on Rittenhouse and got rid of the bottle.

 

I was thinking, perhaps it's not for me but then I considered the possibility it was to do with how much rye was in the drink. I was not surprised to learn my favourite bourbon for mixing, Buffalo Trace, is one of the lowest in content @ 10%. I was however surprised to find other bourbons I enjoyed are amongst the highest in rye content, being Bulleit Bourbon and Four Roses. I found myself also surprised Rittenhouse contains the legal minimum for a rye coming in at 51%. I am wondering if it's more to do with the production than the rye. I was hoping to tap into the experience of people here for suggestions as to what to try next. The way I see it, I can either give up on rye, try a high-rye bourbon or a rye known for being soft. 

 

I do think Sazerac rye might be your best chance to find a rye you like. Doesn't get too much softer than that one. But if Rittenhouse BIB didn't work then I am not sure what to tell you!

 

1 hour ago, scubadoo97 said:

Ryes do vary quite a lot. 

 

I'm currently half way through a blind tasting of 20 different ryes.  Some more minty than some others.  LDI ryes have varied a lot.  My favorites have been those that are more bourbon like although only 4 have been revealed to date.  Michters, Templeton, Rit and Bulliet so far 

 

Surprised that if you like bourbon-y ryes that Templeton and Bulleit are favorites given they are typical younger MGP 95% ryes.

 

As MGP (Former LDI) ryes get older (8-10 years and more) they do change in character as shown by High West and Smooth Ambler and lose a lot of the minty/dill character to me.

 

I can't imagine not liking a rye whiskey, whether neat or in a cocktail! Well, in my case I suppose that goes for just about any brown spirit... :B

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1 hour ago, scubadoo97 said:

MGP of Indiana 

 

59 minutes ago, scubadoo97 said:

They make a lot of the "craft" whiskey on the market 

 

Midwest Grain Products or MGP (formerly LDI, formerly one of the many Seagram's distilleries of the past) may well be the single largest producer of rye whiskey. Certainly the biggest producer in the US. But almost nothing is bottled in their name. Their current business plan with regard to the whiskey thy produce is to make whiskey that others buy and slap their own name on.

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I'm a big fan of ryes, and have found that a lot of the typical, readily-available ones in my area are not to my liking - I really dislike Bulleit & Knob Creek, for example. Typically our go-to house ryes for cocktails are, in order of preference, Old Overholt & Rittenhouse - both fairly cheap but packing the "spiciness" i like. I am also big fan of Willet 3 year for both cocktails and sips. Woodford will "do" if I'm ordering a cocktail out, but I probably wouldn't buy it for home.

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1 hour ago, tanstaafl2 said:

 

 

I do think Sazerac rye might be your best chance to find a rye you like. Doesn't get too much softer than that one. But if Rittenhouse BIB didn't work then I am not sure what to tell you!

 

 

Surprised that if you like bourbon-y ryes that Templeton and Bulleit are favorites given they are typical younger MGP 95% ryes.

 

As MGP (Former LDI) ryes get older (8-10 years and more) they do change in character as shown by High West and Smooth Ambler and lose a lot of the minty/dill character to me.

 

I can't imagine not liking a rye whiskey, whether neat or in a cocktail! Well, in my case I suppose that goes for just about any brown spirit... :B

Those weren't my favorites just the only ones so far revealed in the tasting.  Two per week, but I've sampled half of the samples so far.  Can't wait to find out what those bourbony ones were.  I pulled an open bottle of Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye from my bar as a reference,  A couple tasted similar and were in my wheelhouse

 

The Saz rye is a good one and priced well

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abenc85   

Thank you for the suggestions. I think the combined ideas of starting on 'taming' cocktails and opting for a mellower, more approachable rye; Sazerac, are a solid starting point. Sazerac particularly appeals as it comes from one my favourite Bourbon distillers. I think I will give this a try and work my way into the spirit with softer cocktails. 

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Currently 6 out of 20 ryes revealed in the tasting.  So far an OTS Wild Turkey Russel's Reserve Single Barrel Rye has score the highest rating at this time.  An over whelming score compared to the rest at this point. It was a "bourbonesk" rye in my opinion and I scored it high.  Two reveled per week.  An OTS Old Overholt  80pf was scored poorly 

 

since  it was a single barrel no chance of finding it but it was really tasty 

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OTS? Probably know what you mean but not coming to me!

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11 minutes ago, tanstaafl2 said:

OTS? Probably know what you mean but not coming to me!

I am guessing "off the shelf".

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7 minutes ago, FrogPrincesse said:

I am guessing "off the shelf".

 

Ah! That could be. Thanks!

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Posted (edited)

As promised here are  the results of a recent blind rye tasting.   21 tasters who are all serious whiskey guys 

We tasted 2 ryes per week.  Each sample was 2 oz

 

Ranked by mean score

 

86.3 - Russell's Reserve 104PF ($59.99)
86.1 - Michter’s 10YO Single Barrel Rye 92.8PF ($160.00)
85.4 - Pikesville Rye 110PF - ($49.99)
85.3 - Michter's Barrel Proof Rye 114.2PF ($87.99)
85.2 - Jack Daniel’s Rye 94 PF ($49.99)
84.3 - Wild Turkey Rye 101PF (2012) ($18/750ml - Current pricing $47/L))
83.8 - Knob Creek 100PF ($23.99 on sale)
83.6 - Woodford Reserve Rye 90.4PF ($23.99)
82.9 - Crown Royal ($22.99 on sale)
82.7 - Sazerac ($34.99)
82.6 – Rittenhouse 100PF ($26.99)
82.5 - Beam Rye 90PF ($44.99 / 1.75L)
82.4 – Templeton 80PF ($35.99 on sale)
82.0 - 1789b Jefferson Rye 94PF ($35)
81.9 - Michter's US1 Rye 84.4PF ($51.99)
81.1 - Bulliet 90PF ($19.99 on sale)
80.5 - George Dickel 90PF ($21.99 on Sale)
80.3 - High West Double Rye 92PF ($33.99 on sale)
80.0 - Old Overholt 80PF ($12.49)
75.8 - Fleischmann's 80PF ($15 / 1.75L)

 


Edited by scubadoo97 (log)
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2 minutes ago, scubadoo97 said:

As promised here are  the results of a recent rye tasting.   21 tasters who are all serious whiskey guys 

We tasted 2 ryes per week.  Each sample was 2 oz

 

Ranked by mean score

 

86.3 - Russell's Reserve 104PF ($59.99)
86.1 - Michter’s 10YO Single Barrel Rye 92.8PF ($160.00)
85.4 - Pikesville Rye 110PF - ($49.99)
85.3 - Michter's Barrel Proof Rye 114.2PF ($87.99)
85.2 - Jack Daniel’s Rye 94 PF ($49.99)
84.3 - Wild Turkey Rye 101PF (2012) ($18/750ml - Current pricing $47/L))
83.8 - Knob Creek 100PF ($23.99 on sale)
83.6 - Woodford Reserve Rye 90.4PF ($23.99)
82.9 - Crown Royal ($22.99 on sale)
82.7 - Sazerac ($34.99)
82.6 – Rittenhouse 100PF ($26.99)
82.5 - Beam Rye 90PF ($44.99 / 1.75L)
82.4 – Templeton 80PF ($35.99 on sale)
82.0 - 1789b Jefferson Rye 94PF ($35)
81.9 - Michter's US1 Rye 84.4PF ($51.99)
81.1 - Bulliet 90PF ($19.99 on sale)
80.5 - George Dickel 90PF ($21.99 on Sale)
80.3 - High West Double Rye 92PF ($33.99 on sale)
80.0 - Old Overholt 80PF ($12.49)
75.8 - Fleischmann's 80PF ($15 / 1.75L)

 

 

No Whistlepig nor Colonel E.H. Taylor?

 

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The person who set up the tasting used bottles he had in his inventory but we did a similar rye tasting back in 2011 with 20 tasters.  Whistle Pig was in that tasting

 

2011

 

Hirsch Rye 95.6PF – 91.1
HW 12YO 92PF – 88.3
HW 21YO 92PF – 87.5
Rittenhouse 100PF – 87.1
HW 16YO Rye 92PF – 86.5
WT 101 – 85.7
HW Rendezvous 92PF – 85.5
HW Bourye 92PF – 85.1 
Willett Rye 3YO 115PF – 84.8
Sazerac Rye 90PF – 84.5
Russells Reserve Rye 90PF – 84.1
Pikesville Rye 80PF- 84.1
HW Double Rye 92PF – 83.0
Whistle Pig 100PF – 83.0
Redemption Rye 92PF – 82.8
Jim Beam Rye 80PF -   80.0

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Odd that when I first tasted Whistlepig I found it thin and watery.  Some months later the bottle blossomed into something entirely better.  Can't say I understand this.  Now a days I buy only single barrel, barrel strength and it ever fails to disappoint.

 

I suggest you assay my dear friend Colonel Taylor too.  Not as smooth as well aged Whistlepig by any means but a mouthful of flavor for your trouble.  And at a fraction of the cost.

 

To my taste Rittenhouse is entirely too sweet -- as I've said before, like marshmallows.  I can't hack the stuff, myself.  Your mileage may vary.

 

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I would certainly say the CEHT Rye deserves a shot in the competition if you try it again. Of course if you are limited to the current stock at hand then that makes things a bit tougher.

 

Interesting that the Rittenhouse dropped in the ratings a bit. I presume in this tasting it was DSP1? It had to be DSP354 in 2011 of course. Different set of tasters too I suppose. The JD Rye showing was interesting. Was the Hirsch in 2011 one of those long gone 20+yo ryes?

 

Not much in the way of MGP rye older than about 6yo in either line up. The older components of the HW ryes were typically those unique Barton recipes. Of course older MGP rye is not easy to come by these days!

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Tanstaafl2, you know our group.  Interesting in the JD reviews, several of ours noted acetone or banana 

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haresfur   

I don't think Crown Royal is 100% rye unless you mean Northern Harvest (which I quite like for a softer rye).

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20 hours ago, scubadoo97 said:

Tanstaafl2, you know our group.  Interesting in the JD reviews, several of ours noted acetone or banana 

 

Yeah, even I got banana on the JD ryes, especially the younger ones, and I almost never get banana. I lack the gene I suppose!

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