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Joe Blowe

All About Rye Whiskey (Part 1)

498 posts in this topic

I agree.  I think Old Overholt is a wonderful rye.  I keep on hearing that they're going to come out with a new version of OOH, and I really hope it's simply a bump up to 100 proof (i.e., use the same old base spirit as always and just put less water in the bottle).  If they did that, I'd probably go over to using OOH as my primary mixing rye over Rittenhouse.  An interesting experiment is to try the low proof Rittenhouse versus Old Overholt (which comparison is won by OOH in my opinion).  You can understand just how much is gained by the higher proof of Rittenhouse BIB.

It's worthy of note that there are two different styles of rye whiskey, Monongahela and Maryland -- Rittenhouse and Old Overholt being the former and Pikesville being the latter.

I must be partial to the maryland style as I the Pikesville is my favorite rye

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It's worthy of note that there are two different styles of rye whiskey, Monongahela and Maryland -- Rittenhouse and Old Overholt being the former and Pikesville being the latter.

ah... interesting. can you define the styles? and what makes them different?

hmm, i've never seen Pikesville in PA. any other maryland styles?

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FWIW, Astor Wines in NYC just confirmed my online order for four bottles of Rittenhouse BIB. I am not actually in posession of the bottles yet, but assuming they arrive tomorrow this could mean that Rittenhouse is back (in NYC at least). I'm a happy guy.

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Rittenhouse has actually never been out (yet!) at any of my usual retail places (Astor, Park Avenue, Warehouse).


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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Our main supplier of things Rittenhouse, Joyal's in West Warwick, still doesn't have any on the shelf. However, the distributor was in the store when I called and claims that a full shipment is coming in September.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Rittenhouse has actually never been out (yet!) at any of my usual retail places (Astor, Park Avenue, Warehouse).

It was MIA on my last two or three visits to Warehouse - maybe I just had bad timing.

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My neighborhood liquor store, Spec's in downtown Houston, has fewer ryes for sale now than they used to have. I was there Saturday and their offerings consisted of:

Wild Turkey Rye 101

Rittenhouse Rye 23 Years Old

Sazerac Rye 90

Old Overholt Rye 80 (in its new label)

Jim Beam Rye 80 (in its new package)

Russell's Reserve Rye 90

Gone were the Handy and Sazerac 18 that were offered last summer.

I currently have Wild Turkey 101, Jim Beam, Old Overholt, and two unopened bottles of the Handy. Of course, I really prefer the Handy, but of the others my favorite really has to be the Wild Turkey--I've been drinking it off and on for at least 20 years. I want to try the Sazerac 90 next week. But I really want that 100 proof Old Overholt to come out this year!

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My neighborhood liquor store, Spec's in downtown Houston, has fewer ryes for sale now than they used to have.  I was there Saturday and their offerings consisted of:

Wild Turkey Rye 101

Rittenhouse Rye 23 Years Old

Sazerac Rye 90

Old Overholt Rye 80 (in its new label)

Jim Beam Rye 80 (in its new package)

Russell's Reserve Rye 90

Gone were the Handy and Sazerac 18 that were offered last summer. 

I currently have Wild Turkey 101, Jim Beam, Old Overholt, and two unopened bottles of the Handy.  Of course, I really prefer the Handy, but of the others my favorite really has to be the Wild Turkey--I've been drinking it off and on for at least 20 years.  I want to try the Sazerac 90 next week.  But I really want that 100 proof Old Overholt to come out this year!

Saz 18 and Handy are both allocated, limited-release bottlings from Buffalo Trace, so they aren't going to be on the shelf year-round. I highly suspect that even the big Spec's gets no more than maybe 6 bottles of each (I've actually never seen the Saz 18 there) per year (or at least that's about what they make available for retail purchase). I thnk I may have bought all the 2006 allocation myself and am hoarding what remains of it.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Yes, I understand that the BTAC is a once a year deal, so that's why I bought a couple of bottles of everything last year; and I plan to do it again this year. Hopefully I can get the Saz 18 and Handy again.

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Where can I get more information about the law concerning rye? When was the law passed? What are all the restrictions?

Are those laws published online somewhere?

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27 C.F.R. § 5.22 The standards of identity.

(b) Class 2; whisky. “Whisky” is an alcoholic distillate from a fermented mash of grain produced at less than 190° proof in such manner that the distillate possesses the taste, aroma, and characteristics generally attributed to whisky, stored in oak containers (except that corn whisky need not be so stored), and bottled at not less than 80° proof, and also includes mixtures of such distillates for which no specific standards of identity are prescribed.

(1)(i) “Bourbon whisky”, “rye whisky”, “wheat whisky”, “malt whisky”, or “rye malt whisky” is whisky produced at not exceeding 160° proof from a fermented mash of not less than 51 percent corn, rye, wheat, malted barley, or malted rye grain, respectively, and stored at not more than 125° proof in charred new oak containers; and also includes mixtures of such whiskies of the same type.

(ii) “Corn whisky” is whisky produced at not exceeding 160° proof from a fermented mash of not less than 80 percent corn grain, and if stored in oak containers stored at not more than 125° proof in used or uncharred new oak containers and not subjected in any manner to treatment with charred wood; and also includes mixtures of such whisky.

(iii) Whiskies conforming to the standards prescribed in paragraphs (b)(1)(i) and (ii) of this section, which have been stored in the type of oak containers prescribed, for a period of 2 years or more shall be further designated as “straight”; for example, “straight bourbon whisky”, “straight corn whisky”, and whisky conforming to the standards prescribed in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section, except that it was produced from a fermented mash of less than 51 percent of any one type of grain, and stored for a period of 2 years or more in charred new oak containers shall be designated merely as “straight whisky”. No other whiskies may be designated “straight”. “Straight whisky” includes mixtures of straight whiskies of the same type produced in the same State.

(2) “Whisky distilled from bourbon (rye, wheat, malt, or rye malt) mash” is whisky produced in the United States at not exceeding 160° proof from a fermented mash of not less than 51 percent corn, rye, wheat, malted barley, or malted rye grain, respectively, and stored in used oak containers; and also includes mixtures of such whiskies of the same type. Whisky conforming to the standard of identity for corn whisky must be designated corn whisky.

(3) “Light whisky” is whisky produced in the United States at more than 160° proof, on or after January 26, 1968, and stored in used or uncharred new oak containers; and also includes mixtures of such whiskies. If “light whisky” is mixed with less than 20 percent of straight whisky on a proof gallon basis, the mixture shall be designated “blended light whisky” (light whisky—a blend).

(4) “Blended whisky” (whisky—a blend) is a mixture which contains straight whisky or a blend of straight whiskies at not less than 20 percent on a proof gallon basis, excluding alcohol derived from added harmless coloring, flavoring or blending materials, and, separately, or in combination, whisky or neutral spirits. A blended whisky containing not less than 51 percent on a proof gallon basis of one of the types of straight whisky shall be further designated by that specific type of straight whisky; for example, “blended rye whisky” (rye whisky—a blend).

(5)(i) “A blend of straight whiskies” (blended straight whiskies) is a mixture of straight whiskies which does not conform to the standard of identify for “straight whisky.” Products so designated may contain harmless coloring, flavoring, or blending materials as set forth in 27 CFR 5.23(a).

(ii) “A blend of straight whiskies” (blended straight whiskies) consisting entirely of one of the types of straight whisky, and not conforming to the standard for straight whisky, shall be further designated by that specific type of straight whisky; for example, “a blend of straight rye whiskies” (blended straight rye whiskies). “A blend of straight whiskies” consisting entirely of one of the types of straight whisky shall include straight whisky of the same type which was produced in the same State or by the same proprietor within the same State, provided that such whisky contains harmless coloring, flavoring, or blending materials as stated in 27 CFR 5.23(a).

(iii) The harmless coloring, flavoring, or blending materials allowed under this section shall not include neutral spirits or alcohol in their original state. Neutral spirits or alcohol may only appear in a “blend of straight whiskies” or in a “blend of straight whiskies consisting entirely of one of the types of straight whisky” as a vehicle for recognized flavoring of blending material.

(6) “Spirit whisky” is a mixture of neutral spirits and not less than 5 percent on a proof gallon basis of whisky, or straight whisky, or straight whisky and whisky, if the straight whisky component is less than 20 percent on a proof gallon basis.

(7) “Scotch whisky” is whisky which is a distinctive product of Scotland, manufactured in Scotland in compliance with the laws of the United Kingdom regulating the manufacture of Scotch whisky for consumption in the United Kingdom: Provided, That if such product is a mixture of whiskies, such mixture is “blended Scotch whisky” (Scotch whisky—a blend).

(8) “Irish whisky” is whisky which is a distinctive product of Ireland, manufactured either in the Republic of Ireland or in Northern Ireland, in compliance with their laws regulating the manufacture of Irish whisky for home consumption: Provided, That if such product is a mixture of whiskies, such mixture is “blended Irish whisky” (Irish whisky—a blend).

(9) “Canadian whisky” is whisky which is a distinctive product of Canada, manufactured in Canada in compliance with the laws of Canada regulating the manufacture of Canadian whisky for consumption in Canada: Provided, That if such product is a mixture of whiskies, such mixture is “blended Canadian whisky” (Canadian whisky—a blend).


Edited by slkinsey (log)

Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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Thanks, Sam.

Any idea as to when that standard was set? I've read that the standard for bourbon was set in 1964, but haven't seen anything like that for rye whisky (or the rest of naming standards, for that matter).

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LeNell's has gotten some of the new Rittenhouse BIB. I haven't tried it yet so no report on its state, but I was glad to see it at $18.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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What do you mean by "new" Rittenhouse BIB? As far as I know, they haven't changed anything.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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Oh! When you said "new" and "report on its state" I got the impression you were worried it would be reformulated or different somehow.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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LeNell's has gotten some of the new Rittenhouse BIB. I haven't tried it yet so no report on its state, but I was glad to see it at $18.

I think Rittenhouse has to have the most up and down pricing scheme I've ever seen, haha.

When it was first "rediscovered" you could routinely find it for around $12 dollars even going as low as $10 for places that wanted to clear stock (I bought a case for $10/per at one point).

When people started gobbling it up the price continued climbing at a steady clip stopping at $13, $15, $18 on the way to (the highest I've seen it at) $22.

My local liquor store has about 6 bottles in stock and two weeks ago they were priced at $18 but when I walked in the other day all 6 were still there and the price was lowered to $16.50.

It's hilarious.

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The only place that has it in the milwaukee area had it for 24 if I recall correctly. I thought that was a bit expensive and opted for Old Overholt.

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Its amazing how volatile those prices were - i assume liquor stores only make something like 30% gross margins on liquor - a range from $10 to $22 is out of control!

What does a bottle of Rittenhouse cost a typical liquor store?


Edited by maks_p (log)

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In NYC these days, I'd say that around 16 bucks for a fifth is an average retail price.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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I don't quite get the Rittenhouse pricing either.

Binny's sells it for $14.99 in Chicago.

At retail in San Francisco, it usually costs somewhere in the mid-20s (when I can find it).

At least Hi-Times stocks it for the more sensible $16.99.

Certainly makes it easy to justify the shipping costs to myself!


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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$16.99 is pretty standard here in Los Angeles for the Rittenhouse 101, but they rarely have it in stock at my local BevMo.

Erik - you should also check out Beverage Warehouse (sorry for you out of state folks, but they only ship within California).


"Martinis should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously one on top of the other." - W. Somerset Maugham

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After being missing for a couple of months, Rittenhouse BIB showed up here in Atlanta last week. I paid about $17.50 for a fifth; it would have been less if I'd had real money on me instead of just plastic (it's common in ATL liquor stores to have one price for credit and another for cash -- there's usually about a 2.5% difference).


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Last night my wife and I went over to some friends' house to watch the presidential debates.

My friend is a whiskey aficionado, collecting vintage Bourbons and similar (my god, some of that vintage Dickel Tennessee Whiskey astoundingly good).

Anyway, he said he had two mystery whiskeys he wanted the assembled to try and tell him what we thought.

The first one we tried was a little rough around the edges. It just sort of sat in your mouth without much length or depth. The second was a beautiful whiskey, almost Cognac-like in it's ethereal flavor and evaporation from your tongue.

When he revealed that the whiskeys were the 2006 and the 2008 bottling of Anchor's Hotaling's Whiskey, my jaw dropped.

Amazing! There was a familial resemblance, and certainly some similarity in the nose and smell left in the glass, but we were astounded just how different the flavors were. I don't know if it is the additional two years in the barrel, or if the 2008 is just a particularly sweet barrel... If you thought the 2006 Hotaling's was a little rough (and who didn't) check out the 2008. It is an incredibly nice American Whiskey!


Edited by eje (log)

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Has anyone tried a rye call Ri one. Saw it on the shelf last weekend. Really fancy, modern packaging. Any good? Really fancy packaging always makes me wary - I'd rather pay for good booze over than expensive marketing.

http://press.ri1whiskey.com/lpa

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