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Joe Blowe

All About Rye Whiskey (Part 1)

498 posts in this topic

I had a Sazerac at TVH last night made with a rye that I can't seem to find. I thought he said it was a Buffalo Trace brand but I'm not sure if it's Eagle or Weller or what... I know he said it was 114* - and each year it's made the proof varies... and it definitely wasn't old grand dad 114. Any ideas?

Incidentally, it was rinsed with chartreuse instead of absinthe. Oh dude.

edit: looks like it was a Thomas Handy 2008 release. Wow.


Edited by davicus (log)

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Dave Kaye

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Green. I may actually have to go back tonight.


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Dave Kaye

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I've recently moved to Washington DC from New York. As a rye whiskey lover, I thought I'd be able to find Pikesville Rye in this neck of the woods, but haven't seen it at either my local stores or well-stocked places like Central Liquors and Calvert Woodley.

Is Pikesville available in DC or is it really only distributed in Baltimore and environs?

Incidentally, Central Liquors had some of the Thomas Handy on the shelves -- something I've never seen anywhere -- priced in the 70's I think. Very tempting but not in my budget at the moment!


Edited by Relish (log)

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I've recently moved to Washington DC from New York.  As a rye whiskey lover, I thought I'd be able to find Pikesville Rye in this neck of the woods, but haven't seen it at either my local stores or well-stocked places like Central Liquors and Calvert Woodley.

Is Pikesville available in DC or is it really only distributed in Baltimore and environs?

Incidentally, Central Liquors had some of the Thomas Handy on the shelves -- something I've never seen anywhere -- priced in the 70's I think.  Very tempting but not in my budget at the moment!

You may be right about the Baltimore connection; I picked up 3 bottles of it in Annapolis a few months ago - $11.99 a bottle.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

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For what it's worth, despite Pikesville's Maryland roots, it is made by Heaven Hill in Bardstown and it is distributed via HH's normal distribution channels (ie, Southern Wine & Spirits).


During lunch with the Arab leader Ibn Saud, when he heard that the king’s religion forbade smoking and alcohol, Winston Churchill said: "I must point out that my rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite the smoking of cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after, and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them." Ibn Saud relented and the lunch went on with both alcohol & cigars.

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I was in Morgantown a few weeks ago and was able to stock up on Rittenhouse BIB @ $12 a fifth. I also took the opportunity to try a bottle of WV's Isiah Morgan Rye Whiskey which is unaged (white dog). Very strange stuff. Definitely not for sipping, and not likely to work in the usual whiskey cocktails. The nose is very pungent in a way similar to a very pungent cachaça like Santo Grau.

The liquor store I was in also had (ri)1 for $62. I just shook my head. Jeez, I thought $46 was bad. I can't imagine very many WVU students are buying this (and judging from the pallet-loads of near gallon-sized bottles of Jagermeister in the store, I don't think they are).


Mike

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

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I don't know how many of you watch Mad Men, but I do. And if you do too, you know that Old Overholt featured in a scene between Don Draper and a guy who's probably Conrad Hilton.

The year in which this scene is set is 1963. If you haven't seen it, let me recap. Don's at a country club, where his boss is hosting a party. Don wants another drink and finds a bar inside with a white-jacketed man at the bar, back to Don. Don asks for an old-fashioned. White-jacket says, "I'm on the same mission, but there's no bourbon around." Don realizes this is another guest, not a bartender, and goes behind the bar himself to see what he can find.

He picks up a bottle, shows the label to the other guy, and says, "Is rye all right?" It's a bottle of Old Overholt. Now, if you've read Robert Simonson's Sixties Accuracy in Every Sip piece in the Times, you won't be surprised by the Overholt. But you'd also know that when they needed a case of gin, they went with Tanqueray over Beefeater because the Tanq label hasn't changed much since the Sixties, whereas the Beefeater label has.

The Overholt label hasn't changed much, and I just rewatched that scene for the fifth or sixth time, and the label on the show matches the current label. The only thing different I see on the bottle is it seems there's a strip across the cap. I don't know what you call it; it's the strip of paper that's glued to one side of the neck, goes up over the cap, and is glued to the other side.

I suspect the prop master chose Overholt for the same reason she chose Tanq, because the label's stayed the same for so long.

But that's not what I'm here for. What I'm really wondering is, what Overholt would people have been pouring in 1963? The bonded or the 80 proof? Has anyone sussed out when the 80 supplanted the 100?

I may have overlooked that answer, if you've already discussed it. I searched through every page of this thread and I didn't see it. I see the consensus that Overholt would probably be better as a bonded whiskey, and I noticed that Overholt used to be bonded as recently as 1950, but I didn't see anything about the switchover.


Edited by dietsch (log)

Michael Dietsch

adashofbitters.com

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Can't help much on the timeline of the proof change, but the strip of paper across the cap is the old-school tax stamps which as far as I'm aware would indicate a bottle from somewhere between 1933 and 1980 (would love a correction on that if anyone has better info).


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Can't help much on the timeline of the proof change, but the strip of paper across the cap is the old-school tax stamps which as far as I'm aware would indicate a bottle from somewhere between 1933 and 1980 (would love a correction on that if anyone has better info).

Thank you, Andy. That makes sense, and it makes the bottle look more historically accurate, so it's good to know. I still sometimes find bottles with those, and I can't always tell whether they're just really old or whether the bottler is just going retro.


Michael Dietsch

adashofbitters.com

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Overholt used to be bonded (and, as far as I know, only bonded) as recently as the 1980s. I've still got half a bottle left of an '80s bottling, still made in PA (but bottled in Cincinnati). Shaggy, but not bad.

Edited for geographical accuracy.


Edited by Splificator (log)

aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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Overholt used to be bonded (and, as far as I know, only bonded) as recently as the 1980s. I've still got half a bottle left of an '80s bottling, still made in PA (but bottled in Cincinnati). Shaggy, but not bad.

Edited for geographical accuracy.

Thank you very much, Dave, that's just what I needed to know!


Michael Dietsch

adashofbitters.com

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Sorry I didn't mean to imply that at all, merely that they weren't "quality mixing spirits". Wether that means that it is too pricey or too bland, distinctive, sweet, or crappy to make cocktails with differs on a case-by-case basis. And this doesn't mean that the whiskey doesn't have other merits, even if it's a low-end one, merely that one of it's merits is not that it makes great cocktails. Jim Beam Rye is the same way in some regard; it is not awful, and can be pleasant by itself or in simple highballs, it just doesn't have the presence to work well in cocktails. Being priced similarly to Overholt makes the choice an easy one. Many Bourbons fall into this same category.

Sadly, Jim Beam is the only reasonably priced Rye in Australia, at $35 for 700mL (others start at about $50). As a result, I haven't really tried any others and wonder what I'm missing out on. The Beam has performed wonderfully in cocktails for me though, and stands up better in most everything than any Bourbon I've mixed with.

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Just wanted to mention here that I've finally been able to get myself a bottle of Handy last weekend. I've tasted it twice before, but this is the first bottle I've been lucky enough to find. 129 proof. Price: $55.99 I have no real comment to offer (It's Handy! What else needs to be said?), other than to simply say I'm a happy boy. :smile:


Mike

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

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Has anyone tried the High West Rendezvous Rye? I've heard good things but haven't been able to try it anywhere. Thinking about picking up a bottle but thought I'd get some reactions first.

thanks

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I have a bottle, but haven't opened it yet.

There's a thread over at the chanticleer society, if you care to take a look.

The reviews over there have been positive.

I'm hoping to track down the 16 yr old to do a comparison.

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I picked up a bottle myself, most places here in SF price it in the $50 range but I tracked it down for $40 and that seemed a good value given that malt advocate rated it 95 points, much higher then their 21yr and 16yr. I was intrigued by the high rye content, it's a majority blend of 6yr 95% rye with a bit of their 16yr 80% rye thrown in to add some more oak flavor.

I'd like to compare it to the Sazerac 6yr in a blind test and see if it's worth the extra premium.

I also happened to pick up a bottle of the Thomas H Handy which made me very happy, soooo good.

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Aged twelve whole months, I see...


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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Aged twelve whole months, I see...

I'm hoping it was 12 whole months! It's certainly a bit rougher than Overholt and the like, which I figure might be an advantage in certain cocktails. Not my Manhattan, however.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I looked into Copper Fox, and I haven't tasted it but given the price point and young age I decided to skip it. I opted for the High West and have no regrets.

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In the 60's, people were lucky enough to be drinking something like this:

IMG_1998.jpg

Draper had it good.

Dave, is your 80's PA Overholt 100 proof or lower? I've had some 86 proof from that era that was very nice. I also have some 86 proof Pikesville that was distilled in PA that is one of the best ryes I've ever tasted.

-Mike


Edited by scratchline (log)

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My God, that's beautiful. I shed a tear for those missing 20 degrees of proof and 4 years of age.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Here's one to keep an eye out for:

http://chuckcowdery.blogspot.com/2010/04/whiskeypig-and-other-tastes-of.html

Chuck Cowdery knows his whiskey and his endorsement is highly regarded. I find Canadian rye (read Hirsch 8 and 12, Lot 40) to be light compared to most American ryes so the fact that Whistlepig is a potent flavoring whiskey piques my interest. The 10 years in wood helps too. Sometimes there are advantages to being in NYC, Chicago, or LA.

-Mike

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Mike--

My bottle is still 100 proof, but has alas lost the age statement. They were lucky indeed back when 8 to 10-year-old rye was readily available. Perhaps the best rye I ever had was some 10-year-old Rittenhouse, bottled at 100 proof for the Paris/Tokyo collectors markets. Mmmmmmmmmmm.


aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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