View Full Version : Three Rye Shootout!
Sazerac 18 year old vs. Van Winkel 13 year old vs. Wild Turkey 101
I just finished a blind taste test and the results are in!
A) Color - a deep dark cherry hued amber that says "I'm old".
Nose - very loud fruity/spicey complexity just zinging with oak
Palate - cherry cough syrup served up in a big wooden spoon carved out of an oak barrel stave. A good bit of alcohol burn on the tongue.
Finish - white pepper and anise that is long and warm with the late arrival of some thick cigar smoke.
B) Color - amber with a gold cast.
Nose - damson jam; allspice, hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick.
Palate - spiced apple rings floating in hot cider.
Finish - applebutter on rye bread of medium duration with soft fade out.
C) Color - solid classic amber.
Nose - baked sweet potatos and butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.
Palate - sharply spicey sweet potato pie; sasafras tea with a hint of wild mint.
Finish - very pleasent hearbal tea tones just a little hot with a quick decay.
The truth revealed:
A = Van Winkel Family Reserve Rye 13 years old.
B = Sazerac Rye 18 years old.
C = Wild Turkey Rye 101 proof.
Overview - I liked all of these ryes and I try my best to keep them around the house. That can be tough to do as none of the three are available in Virginia. Before Vickie let me know which glass held which rye I picked an overall winner that I thought represented 'Best In Class' and that turned out to be 'The Saz'! The apple butter on rye bread finish is what makes this rye so very special. I've never had anything quite like that before, and was such a pleasent surprise that it makes 'The Saz' number one in my book. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/laugh.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif
That's quite a compliment in my book for "The Saz", as I've recently been enjoying the VWFR 13 Year Old a lot. I've only tried "The Saz" once before, along with Van Winkle, and my impression was that I liked VWFR more. That occured after sampling lots of good stuff, so I guess I owe it to myself to give "The Saz" another try!
It is a tough call between the Sazerac and the VWFR 13yo. I thought the first Sazerac bottling was one of the best whiskies of any type I have ever tasted. The second release was very, very good, but seemed a tad thinner than the first, especially in mid-palate. My last couple of bottles of the VWFR have been nothing short of outstanding. Full, rich, chewy, but I don't pick up an alcohol burn. Yummy, yummy stuff.
Speedy this shootout was very instructive to me in many ways. The Van Winkel at 13 stated years of age was by far the most mature and also the most bourbon like of the trio. When I drink rye - which isn't very often - I want something that tastes more like rye than bourbon. 'The SAZ' just fits the bill. It's finish is nothing short of miraculous and puts it leaps and bounds ahead of any rye I have ever tasted. Just because I like it best doesn't mean that you have to. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif
http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/laugh.gif Absolutely Bob! If you really like rye, then you should keep all three of these fine ryes on hand at all times. One of the many things I really enjoyed about this shootout is how well the relatively young and inexpensive Wild Turkey rye aquitted itself. Excellent stuff! http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/cool.gif
Linn: Agreed on several points. (1) Among the five ryes I tasted during my rye extravaganza earlier this year, the VWFR 13yo was the most bourbon-like. (2) As for the Sazerac being leaps and bounds ahead--yes...for the first release. The current release, while still a top class whisky, falls back ever so slightly but remains among the lead pack. (3) Taste is subjective but easily influenced by others. That's the great thing about this forum--the tastes and opinions expressed here are at times so vastly different (often diametrically opposed) that one can't help but ultimately trust their own judgment when tasting a new whiskey. That's what also makes it fun http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/laugh.gif
Soon I will have all 3 available for regular enjoyment. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/laugh.gif I went ahead and placed another order at Sam's (they've got a sale going that ends tomorrow) for "The Saz". I will look forward to trying it again.
It's probable that my taste buds were as much under the influence as my brain last time that I tried "The Saz". http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/cool.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif So, I'll know in the near future how it stands against VWFR. I too have the Wild Turkey Rye, and as with most of the other WT line-up, what's not to like? As you say, the WT is very nice for it's price. I continue to be amazed at how relatively inexpensive the VWFR is, considering how DELICIOUS it is!
By the way, I ordered a few other things that I've read about here, and elsewhere, that I'll also look forward to tasting, and reporting back on...Hirsch 16 YO, Eagle Rare 10 YO Single Barrel, and Weller's Centennial 10 YO. I'll let you know what I think about these, and "The Saz", in the near future!
How much is Saz in Louisville? When I was there in July, I thought I remember it being too much $$ compared to ORVW 13 year. I may be wrong, though.
I see my sister again at Christmas (when I hope she's bearing a bottle of Stagg). I can always put in an order for some Saz.
Depending on where you find it , it goes for 39.99- 42.00 I think ORVW is 28 or so . I remember the difference between 12 and 13 ORVW is 3 dollars a 750 ML , also the 13 is several points higher in proof so you get a pretty good bang for 3 bucks right there. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif
$41.99 at the Liquor Barn CL so it ain't cheap. Be sure to get the whole antique trio: George T. Stagg, The Saz, and Eagle Rare 17 year old. We havn't talked much about the 17y.o. Eagle Rare but that is some very fine bourbon. I like it a lot.
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Be sure to get the whole antique trio: George T. Stagg, The Saz, and Eagle Rare 17 year old.
Linnis "convienently" forgetting to say that, while suprise last, the Antique Collection is a foursome! Get some Weller 19 while hunting out those other gems. I say "you won't regret it!".
Tom (New Wheated Booster) C
Tom it was my understanding that the 19 year old Weller was to droped from the collection now that Julian Van Winkel is aboard the good ship Buffalo Trace, but I could easily be wrong. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/confused.gif I'll have to check with Ken Weber on that one. Even if it were to continue I couldn't recomend it.
From what I've read, the current (2002) release of the Weller 19 is the last because the last casks of it were used up. Of the three Antique bottlings currently available, the Weller sells the best here (Pittsburgh), even though I think the Sazerac and Eagle Rare are superior. I know, Linn, I know. What's this world coming to when a (so-so at best) wheater outsells a great straight rye and a very good ryed bourbon? http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/confused.gif Makes one shudder at the possibilities http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/shocked.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif
That's why we're here Speedy - to champion the great (rye) stuff! Wheaters?! We don't need no stinkin' wheaters!
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Wheaters?! We don't need no stinkin' wheaters!
Thats what is so great about this forum, the wide range of tastes included here! Wheaters??? HELL YEAH we need those stinkin' wheaters I say. You say that you cannot with a clear conscience recommend Weller 19, and I commend you for you honesty. In that thread I can wholeheartedly say that (while it is a tad $$) Weller 19 is an experience that anyone who enjoys wheated bourbons should not miss. On the flipside, I was underwhelmed with my (albeit limited) experience with "the Saz" and subsequently find it too expensive to risk further study, and I could not recommend it if asked (on a side note I LOVED the VWFR 13 Rye, go out and buy some now, I wish I had. . . .). Funny how these things work huh? Thats why I am so happy the distillers make such a wide range of products for us to enjoy.
One thing we do have in common is knowing that ER17 is GOOD STUFF, I wanna get my hands on a bottle of that & pronto!
Tom http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/cool.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/cool.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/cool.gif C
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