View Full Version : My first rye

12-11-2002, 16:22
While at the Liquor Barn tonight I pondered what was to be my next purchase. Would it be a replacement for my recently emptied EC12? Would it be another bottle of Old Charter Classic 90? Would it be another bottle of George T Stagg? By the way, the Liquor Barn now has about 8 bottles sitting on the shelf. After some careful thought I decided to try a rye whiskey. But which to choose? We have Old Overholt at $10.99, Beam at $8.50, WT at $18.99, VW at $19 and $24 and the "Saz" at $42. I was immediately drawn to the 'saz'. I have heard great things about this one. It was also sitting next to all of those bottles of Stagg, which made it even more attractive by association. This was too much money for my first rye though. The real choices were between WT and VW. I opted for the WT since I am familiar with the high quality of their other products and thought this would be a good introduction into the world of the rye. I don't have any tasting notes yet as I need time to aclimate my taste buds to this new sensation. I am beginning to understand better some of those "rye" notes that I am tasting in my bourbons. Lots of spice on the tongue and a 'kick' on the way down. I think I am going to like this one a lot. Instead of tasting 'rye' notes in my bourbon, I am tasting 'bourbon' notes in my rye http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif What do you all think of this one from Wild Turkey? Where should I go from here? Should I bother with the cheaper Bean and Overholt?

12-11-2002, 16:54
I'd say you made a good choice for your first Rye. My first Ryes included the WT, Old Overholt and Jim Beam Ryes. I enjoyed all of these. Recently, I tried the VW, and nothings been the same since! http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/cool.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/cool.gif For my money, nothing beats the Van Winkle Rye. It is superb stuff! Prior to my recent purchase of a bottle of the Saz, which I haven't opened yet, I tried The Saz. Although it is a wonderful Rye, I don't think it's twice as good as the Van Winkle. Definitely give the Van Winkle a try, I think you'll like it!


12-11-2002, 17:04
I agree Wild Turkey rye has a good spicy rye taste and a kick.

I'd suggest you buy Old Overholt. Five to ten years ago, although I can't prove it, this was aged more than the indicated 4 years, it was a fabulous whiskey, and the price was simply a steal.

It was rich, spicy, balanced. Recent bottlings seem younger, with more of the characteristic Beam "wild yeast"
background. But it is still a classic rye.

I'd buy that one next, and keep about half of both for a year. I think you will see each smoothes out a lot..

After they are gone, I'd buy either of the two Van Winkle ryes on the market. They are quite bourbon-leaning ryes, but are superb within the confines of the rye style. They have the true old-fashioned straight whiskey taste, in my opinion.

12-11-2002, 21:17
Good for You Jeff! The Wild Turkey is a great choice. Get 'The Saz' and the Van Winkel ryes when your finances permit. I for one don't bother to buy any ryes other than those three.

12-11-2002, 21:34
I am biased. I've only had one rye - VW 13 yo Family Reserve. It's great and it is not extremely expensive. You've probably read here that, while it is readily available now, it is no longer being produced. Therefore, I'd get a bottle or two to save. I have one open bottle in the liquor cabinet and four unopened bottles in the bourbon (formerly wine) rack in the pantry. My version of the bourbon bunker!

However, I do have a bottle of Old Overholt from my August trip to SC. I bought it based on what I have read here. I haven't opened the Old Overholt yet, mostly because the VW is so damn good, I haven't wanted to try anything else.

12-11-2002, 22:00
After my own heart! Pile it Deep and High! http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif If you have to leave suddenly, someone will thank you for your forsight! http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif One bottle a Bourbo-Bunker Makes! after a while it takes on a life of it's own . Then it becomes ridiculous. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif

12-12-2002, 00:56
Hey Jeff, I just bought my first rye too, just in my case it was said Old Overholt. . . .it is worth the entry price, It is a very workmanlike drink and the 80 proofage leaves it a little weak but I have enjoyed it so far (its the only rye available to me till I plan another trip to KY, so I am glad I like it!). I am sure the WT rye is better, but I would say - Give this one a shot!


12-12-2002, 05:34
I am about to redo my will. I may just have to make a new entry into it for the mini-bourbon bunker.

Ok, people, start sucking up to me! http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif

12-12-2002, 05:41
Have been told that storing wine on its side is ok, but spirits should be kept vertical. Don't know if this makes sense but info was from a pretty smart guy

12-12-2002, 07:28
Jeff, the only ryes I've had so far are the Jim Beam and Wild Turkey varieties. The Jim Beam rye, from what I remember, was light and floral, almost delicate. Compared to JB, Wild Turkey packed a punch (but not just because of the higher proof). It seemed to be much more complex and full-flavored (I'm assuming WT has a greater percentage of rye than JB).

Anyway, I thought JB was a good, albeit mild introduction to rye whiskey but I was taken away with WT's rye. I wish there was more of it in this area.


12-12-2002, 10:22
If you have a cork finished bottle, that is absolutely right. The higher alcohol level will eat away at it with prolonged exposure, ruining both whiskey & cork.


12-12-2002, 11:58
Wild Turkey Rye is underpriced, an excellent whiskey for not much money, it's my 'day in day out' rye. I save my bottle of Old Overholt to mix with Ginger Beer or eggnog...and by lucky coincidence it's the season for eggnog with rye. If you haven't tried this, you're missing out. I like Anderson Erikson eggnog from the dairy case since I don't always trust raw eggs these days.

I really should buy another bottle or two of the Van Winkle 13 Yr Family Reserve Rye, my favorite rye, since I still see it now and then on the shelf. IMHO the Sazerac has a better 'nose', but I honestly prefer the taste of the VW13YFRR. The price difference makes it a no-brainer for me...I'll buy 2 bottles of Van Winkle instead of another bottle of Sazerac.

Let me make another recommendation...rye whiskey mixes well, I prefer using it to bourbon in that regard. Rye has been around for 200 years and there are some classic cocktails that really taste BEST made with a good rye, even tho' we may think of them as 'bourbon' cocktails.

For instance, a Manhattan...the drink is often made with bourbon, but was invented using rye and I really prefer this one made with Rye:
Manhattan = 2 ounces rye whiskey, 1/2 ounce sweet vermouth, 1 dash of Angostura bitters (optional): Shake with cracked ice; strain into chilled cocktail glass and serve, garnish with a cherry.

Or try a Sazerac (originally made with Brandy in New Orleans, but rye soon replaced the brandy)
Sazerac cocktail = 2 ounces rye, 3 dashes Peychaud's bitters; Coat inside of thoroughly chilled large old-fashioned glass with 1/2 teaspoon of Pernod or New Orleans own Herbsaint, turning the glass to coat it evenly and thoroughly. Shake rye and bitters with cracked ice until very cold; strain into prepared old-fashioned glass; twist lemon peel into drink.

And I love a good Rye n' Ginger (2 ounces rye, 6 ounces of Ginger beer, on ice). Ginger ale will work in a pinch, but I highly recommend Stewarts Ginger Beer.

I'm used to sipping bourbon neat with a water back, and while good rye has such a fine nose it's worthwhile in a snifter...one forgets how GOOD these classic old cocktails taste. Grandpa knew what he was up to.

12-13-2002, 00:56
Yep, thats why I bought my bottle of Old Overholt actually, because Gramps used to make his Manhattans with rye. I had been using OGD BIB in them for a while anyway (next best thing to a rye I figure) so it seemed like a logical step. I use 2-3 dashes bitters but otherwise the recipe is the same. The rye seems to interact with the vermouth so well and they make far better drinks than a bourbon with a lower rye level, IMHO!


12-13-2002, 14:33
Thanks for the tip, chaz and Tom! The mini-bourbon bunker has been saved. The wine rack is out.

Four bottles of VW 13 yo rye are now upright, as well as a bottle each of the VW 10 yo and 15 yo bourbons. They are getting awfully lonely though, waiting for their new cousin Stagg to show up.

01-25-2003, 12:11
Van Winkle 13year FFR http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/shocked.gif
This stuff is great . I really
got lucky making this my first
sample. After my first taste, I
ordered two more bottles. Your posts
really help me make good choices at
the store. Keep up the good work.
It's a dirty job but someones got
to do it.

01-25-2003, 16:23
Dirty job? Heck, Jeff loves that job! Now, if he could only get a better digicam. (Just joking, Jeff, your photos are fine.)

01-26-2003, 17:45
</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
Now, if he could only get a better digicam


No kidding! I am using the digital camera function in my camcorder that I think is rated at 1/4 megapixels http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/frown.gif I do plan on inversting in a better one whenever I stop spending so much money on bourbon. Wait, I better rethink that http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/grin.gif It does give a kind of "antique" look, but you can't read the labels or see details worth a damn.

01-27-2003, 07:07
Good call. The antique look. I like that. http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif

01-28-2003, 15:36
I've had the Beam rye, and i like it, its rather good for $11 in nc. They sell WT in the state, but not in Wake co, any other N. Carolinians know of any counties that -do- sell the WT rye?

01-29-2003, 13:24
Micah, I didn't realize you were in Wake County (so am I). I've have never seen the WT rye in the two Cary stores. Though, I just did check the NC price list and it is in the state like you said.

NC ABC Pricing (http://www.ncabc.com/Pricing/)

The web site above tells you how to order spirits that are not on the price list, so it should follow that you should be able to order something for your store that is already on the price list. However, I don't know if they would make you buy a whole case like they do for a spirit not on the list.

06-14-2003, 08:24
Saw this in the online Esquire food and drinks database (http://www.esquire.com/foodanddrink/), and thought it deserved a quote over here.

When properly built, the Manhattan is the only cocktail that can slug it out toe-to-toe with the Martini. It's bold and fortifying, yet as relaxing as a deep massage. J.P. Morgan used to have one at the close of each trading day. It's that kind of drink.

"When properly built"--there's the problem. For a real Manhattan, you need rye whiskey. No amount of fiddling with the vermouth and bitters can save this drink if you've got bourbon in the foundations; it's just too sticky-sweet. But with rye, this venerable creation--its roots stretch back to the old Manhattan Club, in 1874--is as close to divine perfection as a cocktail can be. The harmony between the bitters, the sweet vermouth, and the sharp, musky whiskey rivals even that existing between gin and tonic water.

06-14-2003, 13:35
I had a taste of the Saz at Buffalo Trace last year and also a little Rye White Dog. Thanks again Ken And Omar. With all this talk of Rye I figured it was time. So here I am with a little VanWinkle 12 YO Rye on a few cubes of ice. What can I say? Damn this is good. If 13 is better, Wow! My shortcomings of tasting and my tasting vocabulary is wholely apparent,( Not as good as Stagg , Better than Jim Beam White, I like it , I'm not too fond of it) Sorry folks I just don't get that grandma's attic routine. But this 12 year old VanWinkle Rye, It's as if every drop is a drop of flavor and it keeps building, rather than reaching a certian point and then heading downhill again. I wanted to start at the 12 so when I do get the 13 ( Or 15 as it may turn out to be) I want to see what that extra age has done to it. On the downside http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/deadhorse.gif If you don't have this one , you probably won't get it. There may be a bottle here or there, I witnessed a stash of it drying up completely. There still is 13 so don't despair! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif
One for Julian http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif

06-18-2003, 22:43
So here I am with a little VanWinkle 12 YO Rye on a few cubes of ice. What can I say? Damn this is good. If 13 is better, Wow!

As I've said elsewhere on these boards http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/soapbox.gif, in my taste the 12 yo is much better than the 13 yo (unfortunately, because the 12 yo is no longer being made). The 12 yo is much richer, smoother, and full-bodied...to me, the 13 yo just doesn't deliver the same satisfaction. If you can find the 12 yo, I'd bunker as much as possible as soon as possible!