View Full Version : Jefferson's Rye

04-18-2011, 14:10
John Hansell's latest WDJK? post (http://www.whatdoesjohnknow.com/2011/04/18/a-few-brief-scotch-bourbon-rye-and-irish-updates/) mentions a new competitor for WhistlePig in the tiny "10 year-old, 100% rye" category: Jefferson's Straight Rye Whiskey.

The folks behind the Jefferson’s line of bourbons, including the outstanding Jefferson’s Presidential Select releases, told me they will be releasing a 10 year old 100% rye whiskey later this year at 94 proof. I tasted a pre-release. It reminded me of WhistlePig. I mean, it really reminded me of WhistlePig (hint!), but at a slightly lower proof (and what will be offered at the significantly lower price of about $35).

So the Jefferson's is slightly lower in proof, quite a bit lower in price, and will be released in "batches" (see attached labels). These differences aside, two nearly identical (on paper, at least) Alberta Premium whiskies, sold by American bottlers, and competing in the same niche market... Am I the only one who thinks this is strange? Has WhistlePig found a different source for their next release?

04-19-2011, 09:49
Do we have some reason to believe either this or WhistlePig is definitely Alberta? If we're basing that on the fact that it's 100 percent rye, that's not dispositive. Just about all you can say for sure is that it's not from Walkerville, as they blend pre-barrel. Every other Canadian producer probably makes a 100 percent rye flavoring whiskey.

The 10-year age is the interesting coincidence that suggests the same producer as WhistlePig.

This may be the Jefferson's that my sources tell me was recently bottled at LDI.

04-19-2011, 10:08
I thought I read somewhere (maybe Davin's site) that Alberta Springs was the only Canadian distillery that made a 100% rye whiskey from unmalted rye, which is why it was speculated that WhistlePig was from Alberta.

04-19-2011, 10:18
It's hard to imagine it's anything but Alberta Distillers (Alberta Springs is a brand of AD's) because, as sku points out, the only 100% unmalted rye mash bill we know of is AD's. From Davin's site (http://www.canadianwhisky.org/news-views/whistlepig-10-year-old-straight-100-rye-whiskey.html):

In Canada, however, there are two distillers who have found a way to overcome the problems of sticky rye mashes and gummed-up equipment. Hiram Walker distillery in Windsor, Ontario, has solved the problem by using malted rye. The perfect rye-converting enzymes, of course, are made by the rye grain itself as it starts to germinate. The other, Alberta Distillers, which uses 100% unmalted rye, has developed its own proprietary strain of Aspergillus fungus that specifically converts rye starches into sugars.

I'm not saying it's impossible that WhistlePig and Jefferson's come from different sources, but I think it's unlikely.

04-20-2011, 11:52
Alberta is unique because it is the only Canadian whiskey distillery that uses rye to make its base whiskey. Everyone else uses corn. But no one publishes the recipes for their flavoring whiskeys and it is very likely that someone other than Alberta makes a 100% rye flavoring whiskey. It can't be CC because they don't age their whiskeys separately, but it could be anyone else.

Just because Alberta is the only distillery that uses 100% unmalted rye for everything, that doesn't mean another distillery doesn't use 100% unmalted rye for something.

Although the category 'rye malt whiskey' exists, it only has to be classified as such if more than 51% malted rye. "100% rye" is not a regulated term and therefore could describe a mash of malted and unmalted rye.

04-20-2011, 13:06
I had not heard of Jefferson's Canadian rye. It pays to follow these boards.

Chuck is correct. Only two Canadian distilleries have really perfected the rye mashing process to the point that high-rye whisky is a mainstream product. However, at least seven make whisky with a very high rye content - far more than 51%. Exact mash bills, of course, are generally proprietary so we can't say they are not 100% rye.

04-20-2011, 13:12
Thanks for the clarification, Davin and Chuck. I'll try to resist the urge to claim (with complete certainty) that any aged, 100% Canadian rye whisky must originate from Alberta Distillers from now on.

04-20-2011, 13:35
Thanks for the clarification, Davin and Chuck. I'll try to resist the urge to claim (with complete certainty) that any aged, 100% Canadian rye whisky must originate from Alberta Distillers from now on.

Your bar bet revenue stream just flew right out the window. :cool:

04-20-2011, 13:39
Your bar bet revenue stream just flew right out the window. :cool:

Hey, if we Canadians can't place bets on the source of Canadian whisky sold in the US market, what else can we do when the NHL playoffs are over? :lol:

04-20-2011, 14:57
Who's the other one, Davin?

I assume that Seagram's made at least a 95% rye flavoring whiskey, since their former Lawrenceburg, Indiana, plant has long made one, so Gimli probably still makes one too.

Jumping to the conclusion that this Jefferson's and the WhistlePig are from the same distillery is probably fair, and it might be Alberta, but it's wrong to assume it must be Alberta just because we know they make a 100% rye mash.

But beyond making sure the speculation is consistent with known facts, I don't care very much about the guessing game. I prefer to just take off points for non-disclosure.

04-20-2011, 18:03
Who's the other one, Davin?

Chuck, Hiram Walker is the other according to Davin's site, http://www.canadianwhisky.org/news-views/whistlepig-10-year-old-straight-100-rye-whiskey.html

05-27-2011, 13:14
castle brands latest (april 2011) 8k filing with the SEC indicates what most of us know: in fy 2012 (current year for them), they intend to launch jefferson's rye, limited edition (doesn't say how many) and priced $5 above the regular offering (do they have a regular rye already or are they referring to the reserve bourbon?).

05-29-2011, 14:09
They've never sold a rye under the Jefferson's name. The COLA also mentions that it's 100% rye made in Canada so, presumably, the same stuff as Whistle Pig.

They also seem to have parted ways with KBD and are now doing their bottling at LDI. My sources inside LDI have confirmed that.

05-29-2011, 16:18
i'm really looking forward to this rye. is this supposed to be a regular limited release edition? presumably, if it's around $35, there will be more.

06-28-2011, 18:15
Looks like John Hansell has gotten his hands on a bottle. Aside from being jealous, I'm very excited about this whiskey! According to John, it tastes very similar to Whistle Pig and will be much more affordable. Can't wait for it's release!


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07-08-2011, 13:04
Heads up, just found my first bottles on a shelf during my weekly (at least) stroll through Binny's for $34.99. I am VERY curious to see how it stands up to Whistle Pig!

07-08-2011, 17:14
Ugh, super jealous Aaron!! Please post back your thoughts!!


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07-08-2011, 19:43
Thanks for the encouragement Josh! First impressions:

The nose is very pleasing, all good notes... actually I forgot the nose now because I've had a glass. It definitely has that same grassy finish full of wormwoody spice that I found with the Whistle Pig. Tasting Whistle Pig alongside the Jefferson's, the thought strikes that in addition to the slightly higher proof bringing a more clean, purer experience, the Whistle Pig could be coming from honey barrels while the Jefferson's from right next door.

The Whistle Pig is more succinct and a little sweeter, tangier. The Jefferson's is a bit more general with more of a glazed sweetness, less delicate. Despite the lower proof, the Jefferson's is a little hotter.

When it comes down to it, though, this is some great juice. Much more lively than Templeton's, for instance, and at a better price. It's been too long since I've had Baby Saz to compare, but if Whistle Pig's superiority called for a $55-$60 price (rather than the $70 price I bought it for), Jefferson's earns its price point in spades.

07-09-2011, 06:50
Great info Aaron! Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to trying it soon.


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07-11-2011, 10:55
I can't wait to find a bottle of this. I just called up my local shop and asked if they can get it for me. Hopefully I'll know in a couple days.

07-11-2011, 15:57
I tried some of this (with AaronWF of course) yesterday. I can't quibble with his tasting notes, but tasting that + Whistle Pig side by side helped me conclude that I just don't like 100% rye. The lack of a corn backbone really makes them both taste one-dimensional to me.

White Dog
07-12-2011, 09:17
I tried some of this (with AaronWF of course) yesterday. I can't quibble with his tasting notes, but tasting that + Whistle Pig side by side helped me conclude that I just don't like 100% rye. The lack of a corn backbone really makes them both taste one-dimensional to me.

Out of curiosity, do you feel the same about LDI Rye?(95% Rye/5% Barley)

07-13-2011, 19:09
I ordered a bottle of this from an online retailer today. Should have it in a couple days. I'm looking forward to trying this one.

07-28-2011, 14:43
Finally got to try this. Seems like the same pedigree as WhistlePig. I think WP got the better barrels but the Jeff is still a fine pour. And a heck of a bargain.

07-29-2011, 03:19
I have yet to try it. I may have to order it. I had some wp given to me from Dave Pickerell, and it is a different animal. i think it is the aging climate in Canada. It totally suprised me. You would think the rye jumped right out, but it did not. I had to grow on me. The stuff from LDI to me, screams I AM RYE.

08-05-2011, 09:20
Anyone seen this in Texas yet?

08-05-2011, 10:16
Well, if anyone in DFW is interested, Goody Goody should be getting this soon. Apparently Glazer's wanted to move it out of the market entirely :lol: silly distributors

08-05-2011, 13:26
Picked up a bottle yesterday here in Atlanta for $31. It's sweeter than I would have imagined. Good stuff, and a good buy.

Here's John's review...


08-18-2011, 19:07
Finally got my bottle yesterday. Definitely echoes Whistlepig... But at 1/2 the price an incredible value!

08-29-2011, 04:01
Had this twice over the weekend, so i'm going to throw my thoughts in to the mix.

First thought, cork on extremely well, thought I was going to pull the wood cap off and the cork was going to be stuck.

Huge aromatic nose. after pouring I'll usually let the glass sit for 5-10 minutes on a table next to where I'm sitting, before taking the first sip. some just sit there and be quiet, this one puts out such a smell, and a good one, to let you know it's here and ready.

In tasting, sweet up front, one my favorite first tastes sensations that not all bourbons have, and this one needs it. And a pleasant lingering finish, not stellar, but decent.

I'm having trouble with the middle. it really does seem rather one dimensional and others have said. And I just yet can't put my finger one what I'm getting out of it quite yet. It's a mix right now of a somewhat "off" tastse, and yet pleasantly different? It's really confusing at this point to the taste buds.

As I'm drinking i was wishing that I had a Bulleit Rye open to compare, I think I'm going to need to open the one in the bunker for direct comparison soon! Going from memory, i really liked the Bulleit, thought it was well balanced in all areas, and something that I could drink daily.

But I just don't get that from this.......and it's only a 5% difference in the mash bill? Granted, it's got the advanced age on it compared to Bulleit, but man, what a difference.

Right now, any plans that I had to pick up more are absolutely on hold until I settle this out. I was excited to see it in, but this has been tempered now with the first tasting.

Last thoughts????

I think it is one of those things that you do need to at least try, if more for "educational" purposes to complete ones learning of the taste spectrum of the impact of mash bill, and age. Coming back to it over the next week I hope to get more out of it than what I got in these firs two brief encounters.


White Dog
09-15-2011, 19:57
I, too, think it's just okay. I'm glad I picked up a couple of bottles, and I'll continue to explore it, but I'm not sure I'll enjoy it much more.

I guess, at the end of the day, the Canadian's just aren't as good as Hoosiers when it comes to making Straight Rye.:lol:

When I first tried Whistlepig, I thought, "What's the big deal?"

09-24-2011, 07:33
Tried this at a Jefferson's tasting event at Party Source. Really enjoyed it. It might have been my second favorite overall behind the Jefferson's 18 bottles.

12-28-2011, 20:02
I did a side by side tonight of the Whistlepig vs Jeffersons and thought I'd share.

Whistlepig Straight Rye, 10yr 100 Proof

Color: Amber

Nose: Subtle spices including pepper and cloves. Amazingly for 100% rye, the rye does not dominate the nose like LDI rye. It's soft and subtle. Mild oak in the background.

Taste: A very creamy and soft entry that crescendos into a spice bomb. The rye makes an appearance followed by light cinnamon and nutmeg. A bit of cracked pepper in the middle. Excellent structure and a beautiful transition from start to finish. Like a spicy hill that starts off soft, grows to bold levels, and then trails off towards the end. Very nice.

Finish: The spices linger on the palate. More cloves and a hint of ginger as the spices fade. A moderate finish on the length.

Rating: This is an excellent rye and one of my favorites. Everything is in balance with excellent structure. The spices all play well together with none dominating the palate. I give this one a 94.

Jefferson's Straight Rye, 10yr 94 Proof

Color: Light amber.

Nose: Quite similar o the Whistlepig. Subtle spices including cloves, pepper, and cinnamon. There's an initial unpleasant nail polish note that fades with a little time in the glass. A little hint of roasted peanuts.

Taste: Loads of spice up front. Cloves tend to dominate the palate initially with nutmeg and cinnamon quickly catching up. There is a mild astringent note midway through that I can't place. Somewhat bitter but fades on exit. A similar transition to the Whistlepig but the spicy notes are more forward on this one. Surprisingly, it drinks a little hotter than the Whistlepig. Subtle wood, oaky notes on exit.

Finish: Spicy and peppery with a medium-long finish. More clove notes. Mildly drying.

Rating: This is a very nice pour. It has a very similar profile to the Whistlepig but has a few flaws, and as a result, the score gets marked down a few. I'm giving this one an 88.

Conclusion: In my opinion, this is not the same juice. Very similar flavor profiles but there are some giant red flags in the Jefferson's pour. The entry on the Whistlepig is SO much creamier than the Jefferson's. Similar spicy notes....but the Jefferson's just doesn't quite measure up. In the end, I'm reaching for the Whistlepig.

Thanks Brent for the sample!

12-29-2011, 18:38
Thank you for sharing.

What is the price difference between the two and does that have any effect on your outcome?

12-30-2011, 04:44
Conclusion: In my opinion, this is not the same juice.

Thanks Brent for the sample!

I was thinking that this was going to be the outcome!. Nice review josh. Although now that you mention the creaminess in the Whistlepig, You make me feel bad for not grabbing one at Binny's this last weekend, they had it on sale down to $65. Snagged a PHC instead.

I've had the same thought with the Jeff vs Masterson's, there is much similarity, but they still seem far apart in the end.


05-01-2012, 18:24
bought a bottle of this for 25.00 in Ky. this past weekend. Not bad for a 10yr. old rye!


04-20-2013, 18:22
I picked this up to today and was very pleased with it. The two dominant themes were the (1) classic minty, prickly rye studded with cinnamon that I sort of associate with the LDI ryes, and (2) a kind creamy vanilla, withy maybe a little cherry.

I had a pour of VW Rye right after and the former held its own.

I think it's a good value at $36+ here in NYC, let alone for $25.

Restaurant man
05-08-2013, 21:21
Fwiw I met raj bhakta (owner of whistle pig) and lets just say that according to my sources whistle pig, mastersons and Jefferson's rye are all from Alberta. The subtle differences are a result of what happens to the aged juice once it leaves the distillery. For example thewhistlepig is rebarreled in new charred oak barrels for up to 2 years according to mr bhakta. I haven been on the whistle pig train due to QPR reasons and I also think the label and marketing story, although genius, tells a lie. In person, I will admit that mr bhakta was more than forthcoming about what he is doing/selling. Fwiw

07-22-2013, 13:29

P&MLiquorsEric posted this new Jefferson's flyer in another thread. It shows the rye as being 95%, which means they're probably transitioning to MGP/LDI.
This would lend some insight as to why the Canada mention was removed from the labeling.


07-22-2013, 13:41
Thanks for the information. It's too bad, it was starting to grow on me too. At least it appears that it will still be 10 y/o. Not a lot of MGPI rye out there with that kind of age on it.

07-22-2013, 14:03
It is a good rye. I like it as it is now. Glad I have a couple stashed away. Damn LDI is everywhere.

07-22-2013, 14:32

P&MLiquorsEric posted this new Jefferson's flyer in another thread. It shows the rye as being 95%, which means they're probably transitioning to MGP/LDI.
This would lend some insight as to why the Canada mention was removed from the labeling.


The other apparent revelation is that there has been or will be a 21yo mystery rye available. That was what originally showed up in prototype bottle picture in a post here sometime back and then we got the mystery 21yo bourbon instead. I still see the 21yo bourbon on the shelf for about $130 but can't bring myself to bite.

Don't suppose anybody has any insight on the source of the 21yo mystery rye? Is it out yet? Any clue where it is from?

07-22-2013, 14:38
Also wonder if this means more Ocean is coming. Or is it just advertising what was and not what is still to come (or come again)? I had read somewhere about the Collaboration bottle but have never seen it. Has it been released too?

(Looks like Eric answered my question in another thread (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?19673-Jefferson-s-Presidential-Reserve-21-yr-Bourbon&p=357191&viewfull=1#post357191)!)

08-10-2013, 09:06
I held a rye tasting for some friends during our annual Summer trip to Cumberland Falls State Park in Kentucky. WTR 101, Ritt BIB, Baby Saz, Saz 18, Jefferson's 10, Ri1, Angel's Envy Rye, and Willett 4yr 110pr. The finishing on the AE helped it to be the favorite, as the group consisted of mostly whiskey newbs, and the sweetness hit the spot well for them. But, from just the plain ryes, the Jefferson's 10 was the clear favorite of the group.

08-10-2013, 09:33
Canada makes some good Rye, no question about it. I'm not surprised those new to Straight whisky prefer the lighter Canadian style.

08-10-2013, 10:14
Canada makes some good Rye, no question about it. I'm not surprised those new to Straight whisky prefer the lighter Canadian style.

Not to be confused with extremely complex and flavorful. Though, the Jefferson's did not have that pungent punch in the nose rye bite like say the Turkey, it was every bit as complex and distinctive as the Baby Saz--which is my Gold Standard when visiting affordable, every-day ryes. There is a whole lot going on in the Jefferson's. Put it this way; I would say that the Jefferson's (Canadian rye, if you will) was much closer to American ryes, than Canadian whiskey is to Bourbon whiskey in the qualities that we judge in them. I think that sentence makes sense...:crazy:

08-10-2013, 10:32
Perfect sense and yes, we are getting more complex, flavorful, unsweetened Canadians now which is a good trend.

08-28-2013, 14:56
Mixed feelings about the Jeff 10 moving to LDI, though I can't say I'd not be interested to try the LDI at 10 years. Anyone know when to expect this in stores?

08-28-2013, 15:32
Sipping some now. Maybe it's me, but I think I enjoy the RittenhouseBIB or the Willett 4 yr more?