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Zanaspus
12-09-2011, 06:46
As I mentioned in my intro, I'm not a real vet of bourbon, and a total rye virgin as it were. I know I like bourbon, and will taste many over my remaining days. Do I like Rye? I dunno.

My question is, what would you consider the quintessential under $30 rye. What I mean by this is; don't necessarily list your favorite. I can read that in reviews. Which rye do you taste and say, "if a person tries and likes this, he's hooked for life on rye whiskey, and if he doesn't like it, he really doesn't like rye." For example in single malt scotch, I would tell someone to try Highland Park 12YO. If you find something in there you like, you're in. If you don't, single malt scotch isn't really for you.

If no such thing exists, forgive me for my lunacy. If it does I look forward to your assistance.

Brisko
12-09-2011, 07:27
I'd say Sazerac (Saz Jr or Baby Saz around these parts) if you can find it. It isn't my favorite but it is pretty representative of the style. It would be a good starting point, anyway. Otherwise Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond (again, if you can find it). It's been mentioned on other threads but there seem to be some supply hiccups in the young rye category.

I'm sure some would suggest Wild Turkey Rye, and I think you should definitely try it at some point, but it seems to be kind of polarizing.

StraightNoChaser
12-09-2011, 07:34
Sazerac would be the quintessential... but Rittenhouse is my favorite

timd
12-09-2011, 09:33
Agreed - Sazerac Rye (6yr or "baby saz") would be quintessential - even down to the bottle design.

Wild Turkey 101 or Rittenhouse BIB are stellar examples as well. But considerably bolder, less mellow, and more fire & spice than Saz, but Saz has that solid "Rye flavor" - it'll remind you more of rye bread than the others.

That said, there are some 95%-100% Rye offerings out there (the above are probably "barely legal" - and only around 51%-60% Rye).

These are 95% Rye whiskeys and can usually be found under $30 (maybe not Templeton - $35 is more likely) - all made by LDI, but may not be to your liking (some folks just don't like the minty/mouthwash aspects of LDI ryes...):

Bulleit Rye
Redemption Rye
Templeton Rye

Additionally, there's Jefferson's Rye is 100% Rye and around $30 or so...(there's other offerings of this same 10 yr Canadian Rye, but they are much more expensive). This is very tasty and a good value for a 10 yr., but it is Canadian Rye, if that matters to you...

Then there's Old Potrero - with a few different expressions that you could look into if you become a Rye freak (like me!).

The above, however, aren't as iconic as the Saz, WT & Ritt to most modern Rye drinkers.

HOWEVER - if you want one of the most amazing "rye experiences" a person can have, drop the $65 for a bottle of Thomas H. Handy (barrel strength/uncut) from the Antique Collection - it's usually more readily available than the other BTAC offerings and worth *every.single.penny*

White Dog
12-09-2011, 09:42
For what you seek, it must come down to Turkey Rye 101 and Baby Saz. RittBIB, while I like it, doesn't have enough "Ryeness" to truly give you what you're looking for, IMHO.

And I would also recommend that you try BOTH Turkey and Baby Saz, as many people on here disagree about these two Ryes. (Personally, I think the Baby Saz is too medicinal, while Turkey is where it's at. There are some great palates on this board, however, who would fight me over those words.:lol: ) Both, however, do give you the quintessential Rye experience.

And don't go for the Russell's Reserve Rye, as it is too neutered to properly show that which is RYE.

timd
12-09-2011, 11:36
And don't go for the Russell's Reserve Rye, as it is too neutered to properly show that which is RYE.

Good call to note this. While I personally really enjoy the RRR, I agree with you - it is its own breed of Rye.

Very soft, piney/wintergreen flavor that's quite different from other Rye. It's good - but it's far from "quintessential," - you can find it in the low-to-mid $20's in many places, but it's not a great "beginner" option for learning what is - and isn't - normal for Rye.

roostercogburn
12-09-2011, 12:34
To me, WT 101 is the quintessential (inexpensive) rye. It has all the herbal spiciness that I associate with a straight rye without going overboard into the near-minty qualities of the high-rye ryes (like Bulleit). However, the Turkey is powerful, knock-you-in-the-throat stuff. It's not as easy-drinking as Ritt BIB (which has definite bourbon-like flavors), but I'd tell anyone that if you like WT Rye, you'll like ryes in general.

Parkersback
12-09-2011, 12:37
For example in single malt scotch, I would tell someone to try Highland Park 12YO. If you find something in there you like, you're in. If you don't, single malt scotch isn't really for you.


I think all the replies here are helpful, but the problem with your example is that while there are hundreds of Single Malt Scotches, there are so few straight ryes. Timd basically named just about every rye you can buy on the market today.

I think many if us here wish there were larger range of ryes that exhibited a variety of "rye-ness" so that we'd be able to say, "this or that is an exemplar." But that's hard to do when there are so few.

BFerguson
12-09-2011, 15:25
My two cents...

While the above mentioned are all very good, I'd toss out Bulleit and Jeff as being on the far edge of the rye spectrum. More so the Jeff than Bulleit.

Turkey, Baby Saz, and Ritt BIB are also very good example of this class. Saz more so than Turkey in my taste. And who doesn't love the Ritt.

But the one that I would recommend hands down, would be the Willett 4yr rye.

Full body, full flavor, near barrel proof great pour that drinks absolutely great neat, brought down with water, or in a nice cocktail.

While I hoard Saz and Ritt because of scarcity, given a choice, I'd think I'd take the Willett any day.

B

Ejmharris
12-09-2011, 16:00
Can't agree more about the Witt Rye. Brent and I had a small. Conversation about this earlier this week on PM. It is a little more than the WT, Saz and Ritt but well worth the extra $10. Unlike myself it is much more mature than the age would show.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

timd
12-09-2011, 20:09
I've missed the Willet this last release... I need to get some.

Keep hearing great things about it. Given how much I love Handy, I'm betting the Willet is a real treat!

I'd also love to try the Abraham Bowman Cask Strength Rye that Party Source bottles...

White Dog
12-09-2011, 20:28
My two cents...

While the above mentioned are all very good, I'd toss out Bulleit and Jeff as being on the far edge of the rye spectrum. More so the Jeff than Bulleit.

Turkey, Baby Saz, and Ritt BIB are also very good example of this class. Saz more so than Turkey in my taste. And who doesn't love the Ritt.

But the one that I would recommend hands down, would be the Willett 4yr rye.

Full body, full flavor, near barrel proof great pour that drinks absolutely great neat, brought down with water, or in a nice cocktail.

While I hoard Saz and Ritt because of scarcity, given a choice, I'd think I'd take the Willett any day.

B

You want scarcity? Saz and Ritt may be allocated, but they're not going anywhere as brands. Willett Cask Rye?? This will be a dusty soon.

You here that sucking sound? It's the sound of Diageo drying up the LDI Rye independent market.:rolleyes:

BFerguson
12-10-2011, 05:11
You want scarcity? Saz and Ritt may be allocated, but they're not going anywhere as brands. Willett Cask Rye?? This will be a dusty soon.

You here that sucking sound? It's the sound of Diageo drying up the LDI Rye independent market.:rolleyes:

I hear you on that. I'm glad i've banked a couple away for a rainy day.

It i kind of said because I really do think they, LDI, make a really great rye.

B

Bourbon Boiler
12-10-2011, 08:45
I'm going against the flow here, but I like rye whiskeys and do not like Baby Saz. The pine forest flavor is too much for me. To me, the Turkey 101 rye is the "starter" rye for someone who wants to learn what rye is.

sailor22
12-10-2011, 10:24
You have been given some good advice. Baby Saz and Wild Turkey Rye are both riding right down the middle of the Rye Highway and should be easy to find, they are what you are looking for. Rittenhouse and Pikesville also qualify.

Also easy to find, Jim Beam and Ri will give you a hint of an idea of what Rye can be but they are both a little understated on some of Rye's best attributes. They have the advantage of being sold in most bars and you can buy a drink or two befor you pony up for a bottle.

Let us know what you think after you explore a few Ryes.

timd
12-10-2011, 10:39
Jim Beam and Ri

I'd respectfully disagree. Neither are particularly good, nor great examples of Rye.

The Ri1 in some markets is still around $40 a bottle, while in others it's $20 (and still overpriced, IMHO). Honestly, can't tell too much difference between JB Rye & Ri1 - other than the super sexy vodka-like bottle that Ri1 is in.

I find them both thin, watery, and lowest common denominators of what Rye can be. In fact, I'd say they are the "rye for people who don't like rye but want to say they drink/mix with it." Ultimately both are best left as mixers, if used at all, rather than archetypes of the flavor.

Some fans of Rye typically avoid both of those expressions (I do).

Just my $.02 - no disrespect intended if you enjoy them.

nivto
12-10-2011, 12:18
Those Willett ryes are all LDI, no? The one I tasted was so minty I might as well have been guzzling mouthwash. LDi just isn't for me, I think.

White Dog
12-10-2011, 12:27
If you start with a Beam Rye, you may never drink Rye again.:lol:

White Dog
12-10-2011, 12:30
Those Willett ryes are all LDI, no? The one I tasted was so minty I might as well have been guzzling mouthwash. LDi just isn't for me, I think.

LDI Rye has a strong wintergreen aspect that isn't for everyone.

cowdery
12-10-2011, 13:04
My favorite is Rittenhouse BIB. Around here, most bartenders swear by Wild Turkey Rye. By far the best selling rye is Jim Beam Rye.

CaptainQ
12-10-2011, 13:57
I know when mixing a cocktail I prefer my rye to be bold and not watered down to 80 proof. For me Ritt BIB and WT rye do the job nicely.

sailor22
12-10-2011, 17:29
I'd respectfully disagree. Neither are particularly good, nor great examples of Rye.

The Ri1 in some markets is still around $40 a bottle, while in others it's $20 (and still overpriced, IMHO). Honestly, can't tell too much difference between JB Rye & Ri1 - other than the super sexy vodka-like bottle that Ri1 is in.

I find them both thin, watery, and lowest common denominators of what Rye can be. In fact, I'd say they are the "rye for people who don't like rye but want to say they drink/mix with it." Ultimately both are best left as mixers, if used at all, rather than archetypes of the flavor.

Some fans of Rye typically avoid both of those expressions (I do).

Just my $.02 - no disrespect intended if you enjoy them.

No offense taken at all. I wasn't talking about what I liked or enjoy drinking but trying to answer his original question about what might give him a notion of what to expect from Rye. To that end I was trying to point him to some mainstream Rye offerings. Not knowing where he is located or what he will find available locally I thought it best to mention two that he might find in a bar and could sample.

White Dog
12-10-2011, 19:04
My favorite is Rittenhouse BIB. Around here, most bartenders swear by Wild Turkey Rye. By far the best selling rye is Jim Beam Rye.

By far the best selling American hamburgers come from McDonald's. I'm just saying.

timd
12-10-2011, 23:45
By far the best selling American hamburgers come from McDonald's. I'm just saying.
Jim Beam Rye & McDonalds hamburgers - two things you will never find in my mouth. I'd prefer my foot there over either of those two...

And, yes, it's there more often than either of the above.

I could mix water + rye bread + vanilla extract and get better flavor and more oomph. I'm just sayin...

tommyboy38
12-11-2011, 05:34
I enjoy JB rye even though I don't care for most other JB offerings.
I consider this to be the quitessential cheap rye along with RRBIB but the RR keeps getting more and more expensive. My last JB rye was $13 and I saw a RR for $23 a few days ago.

ErichPryde
12-11-2011, 11:28
As I mentioned in my intro, I'm not a real vet of bourbon, and a total rye virgin as it were. I know I like bourbon, and will taste many over my remaining days. Do I like Rye? I dunno.





That said, there are some 95%-100% Rye offerings out there (the above are probably "barely legal" - and only around 51%-60% Rye).



My favorite is Rittenhouse BIB. Around here, most bartenders swear by Wild Turkey Rye. By far the best selling rye is Jim Beam Rye.


As others have said, it boils down to:

Wild Turkey Rye
Rittenhouse Rye
Sazerac Rye
Jim Beam Rye

I would immediately toss the 95%ers out the window as "ryes." Why? because they were never meant to be enjoyed straight- they were always flavoring whiskeys. If rye whiskeys that have near the minimum requirement of rye are considered barely legal, and not really ryes, then what do we consider the bourbons that have the minimum requirement of corn? Four roses has a mash that is 60% corn, AH Hirsch sits right at the minimum, and there are plenty of others that use near 60% corn. Very rarely do you hear people talking about how they are barely legal (excepting maybe the AH Hirsch), but often times you hear people refer to them as "high rye."

I think the norm for a rye whiskey probably should be right about 60% rye, 30-35% corn, and 5-10% malted barley (enough to work with). Ryes with approximately those mash perimeters will give you a good idea of what a classic rye is all about. Many of them are probably 51%ers, Certainly The Van Winkles claim that their Family Reserve is.

The 95% and 100% rye whiskeys that have appeared on the market are only here because a market for rye whiskey has come back at all. Rye whiskey is relatively unavailable, as someone pointed out, compared to bourbon. Many distilleries don't do more than one or two days worth of rye distilling per year- And that means that rectifiers like KBD and High West will have to purchase their ryes from somewhere other than the big boys- they don't have enough rye as it is! Means that the huge (but dwindling) stocks at LDI have a big share of the market right now. Buillet, Jeffersons, and many others come from this stock. Dave from High West has done a much better job, in my opinion, by mixing ryes from different sources, or even with bourbons, to get things closer in mash to a "true rye." As an ingredient, Whistlepig is an excellent rye, but I'm not such a fan of it neat. how many of you enjoy corn whiskey to the point that you'd have it every day? Some might.

Now all of that being said- I don't despise the 95%ers, I just feel they need to be thought of as somewhat different. They aren't straight ryes so much as full ryes, or something else. Everyone here might think a bourbon at 95% corn a bit odd, I feel those ryes should be likewise thought of as somewhat different.


Of the ryes listed:

Sazerac is relatively thin, and too dry, for my liking. I've tried it at 6, 7 from a single barrel, and NAS. the single barrel offering was better, but not by enough that it's something I'd want to spend 30 bucks on... which is unfortunately what it runs.

Wild Turkey Rye is a good one to start with. To me it has a very distinct spice, or heat, that I have to be in the right mood for.

Rittenhouse is an easy to pour and drink whiskey. Yes, it's more bourbon-like than WTR101 or Saz, but it's also a better made whiskey (currently). It's a very good example of how good a rye can be.

Jim Beam rye is a solid example of rye, but the conditioner here is that you like Beam's very unique yeast profile. If you can't stomach that, steer clear. I'll tell you that if nothing else, it's great in Barq's rootbeer for a quick cocktail.

timd
12-11-2011, 17:33
Means that the huge (but dwindling) stocks at LDI have a big share of the market right now. Buillet, Jeffersons, and many others come from this stock.

Jefferson's, Whistlepig, and another I'm drawing a blank on all come from the same place... They are Canadian, not LDI.

Not sure I agree with your logic - as Bourbon is *intended* to be an amalgamation of the various grains - specifically a blend of the various influences be they wheat, barley or rye - with a corn backbone.

Corn, Wheat & Rye whiskeys are all meant to showcase those specific grain's flavors and benefits. Corn, being the exception and requiring a higher percentage of corn to the mix, and also not using charred oak, but new - or no - oak, in order to prevent it from being confused with bourbon.

I don't discount the 95%ers at all from this lineup - they are an integral part of the rye spectrum - just as wheat, corn & rye based bourbon covers a broad spectrum. 51%-100% is what Rye covers. And the LDI, Van Winkle, Vintage 21, Sazeracs, Whistlepig/Jefferson, Old Potrero, and other "oddballs" have as much a place as JB, WT, Baby Saz & Ritt.

You wouldn't leave wheaters out of an overview/quintessential discussion about Bourbon, right?

STLbourbon
12-11-2011, 19:13
I just found a bottle of Rittenhouse BIB for about $19. I gave away my last bottle as it just had some weird flavors I wasn't liking, like pickles or something off-putting. But I had to try again, and this new bottle has none of that. This is a killer sipping whiskey, a great rye.

STLb

ErichPryde
12-11-2011, 19:29
Who said rye can't be about an amalgamation of grains? The rye whiskey from 50 or 100 years ago was not 95% rye. And apologies- I didn't realize that jeffersons was also canadian. Thanks for the info.


the rittenhouse of the last 2 years seems you be much better than it was.

timd
12-12-2011, 06:40
like pickles or something off-putting.
STLb

Funny - I get a "dill flavor" from many rye-heavy whiskies that very few others seems to experience - may be some genetic thing with taste buds?

Anyhow, I don't find it off-putting in most cases, just part of the flavor profile that appears to me from time to time (I find it far more often in Rye heavy bourbon, vs. straight rye)

Brisko
12-12-2011, 06:59
Funny - I get a "dill flavor" from many rye-heavy whiskies that very few others seems to experience - may be some genetic thing with taste buds?

Anyhow, I don't find it off-putting in most cases, just part of the flavor profile that appears to me from time to time (I find it far more often in Rye heavy bourbon, vs. straight rye)

I get it occasionally, too, but not always. Off the top of my head, I think I get pickles from Saz 18, Baby Saz, WT Rye and occasionally WT 101 bourbon. Maybe Beam rye, too, I can't remember.

Speaking of Beam, I don't mind their rye. I like it a lot more than either the white or black label bourbons. I think the Beam yeast actually works a lot better with their rye than their bourbon, for what it's worth.

CADMixes
12-12-2011, 08:02
I get that flavor big time in Rendezvous Rye.

White Dog
12-12-2011, 08:33
So Zanaspus, what Ryes have now you purchased and tried? Thoughts? Are you a fan?

cowdery
12-12-2011, 10:43
I understand that popularity and quality are two different things but if someone is interested in rye whiskey, they might find it instructive to try what most people mean when they think of rye whiskey. If you're discovering something new, a good baseline is always the product of that type that dominates the marketplace. How will you know Rit BIB is better if you don't compare it to something?

Plus being reminded that popularity is not the same as quality is tiresome. As insights go, it's not very impressive.

StraightBoston
12-12-2011, 11:12
30+ replies and nobody has mentioned Old Overholt yet?

I like the phrasing of the original question:

Which rye do you taste and say, "if a person tries and likes this, he's hooked for life on rye whiskey, and if he doesn't like it, he really doesn't like rye."

Ritt BIB is my favorite, too, but precisely for its more bourbon-ish and less rye-like qualities -- I don't think it answers the question. WT Rye and JB yellow label (or OO) would be my recommendations (kind of like the Scotch question should split into peated vs. unpeated to really cover all tastes.)

Zanaspus
12-12-2011, 12:15
So Zanaspus, what Ryes have now you purchased and tried? Thoughts? Are you a fan?

Thinking I'll make it to the liquor store Thursday. I'll quaff then and give impressions.

White Dog
12-12-2011, 13:08
I understand that popularity and quality are two different things but if someone is interested in rye whiskey, they might find it instructive to try what most people mean when they think of rye whiskey. If you're discovering something new, a good baseline is always the product of that type that dominates the marketplace. How will you know Rit BIB is better if you don't compare it to something?

Plus being reminded that popularity is not the same as quality is tiresome. As insights go, it's not very impressive.

It only dominates the market because it's made and marketed by the mighty Beam, who uses that influence to force distribution on lazy retail and restaurant buyers who just want the cheapest and easiest path.

I would say that both Beam Rye and OO barely taste like anything, much less the "baseline Rye," which is why this gentleman should buy WT and Baby Saz. But I agree that one should try Beam and OO Rye, so order it at any number of restaurants off their rail.

Shell
12-12-2011, 14:45
I'd say Sazerac (Saz Jr or Baby Saz around these parts) if you can find it. It isn't my favorite but it is pretty representative of the style. It would be a good starting point, anyway. Otherwise Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond (again, if you can find it). ...
I'm sure some would suggest Wild Turkey Rye, and I think you should definitely try it at some point, but it seems to be kind of polarizing.


... However, the Turkey is powerful, knock-you-in-the-throat stuff. It's not as easy-drinking as Ritt BIB ....

I agree that the Sazerac Rye (with no age statement/"Saz Jr."/"Baby Saz") is an excellent introduction for the novice rye drinker.

I would not recommend Wild Turkey Rye 101 proof as an introduction to rye whiskey. As roostercogburn says, it is powerful and not as easy drinking ... it would be a better second or third rye to try.

Old Portrero Single Malt Straight Rye Whiskeys are closer to $70-$80 in price, and are way more than an inexpensive, under $30 level. As they are 100% ryes and are powerful, 'knock-you-in-the throat' ryes - I would not suggest them as a first rye experience.

Bulleit Rye and Templeton Rye are very good introductory ryes, and quite smooth. These 95% ryes are great ryes and, if I'm not mistaken, may likely be closer to the ryes of 100 years ago.

Enjoy.

ErichPryde
12-12-2011, 15:48
You wouldn't leave wheaters out of an overview/quintessential discussion about Bourbon, right?


timd, sorry for the brief response earlier. No, I wouldn't leave the wheaters out, they are very much bourbon. I agree that the 95%ers are a form of rye whiskey, the point I was trying to make is that they are somewhat non-standard for the profile. Agreed, however, that at least one of the less expensive ones (say Bulliet) be thrown in the mix so a newbie might have a good idea of what those taste like.

My two favorite ryes that are still possible to find are Thomas Handy (most specifically 2008) and the more recent party source 10 year old saz barrel proof offer. The rye is absolutely there, but the corn and barley compliment it. I like the combination of grains, but you're right- that is a personal preference.

My favorite unavailable ryes are Hirsch Rye, and Dougdog's Rye. Hirsch Rye was from the same source as some of the earlier van winkle rye, and the hirsch stuff- now that was absolutely, totally mind-numbing rye whiskey. I know nothing about Dougdog's Rye as far as mashbill is concerned, but it's very good stuff.

That being said, I also very much like some of the "fuller rye" offerings that have been thrown out there. for example, Highwest 16 (80% rye) and 12 (unsure on the percentage or source) are both absolutely stunning whiskeys. Their 21 (53%) is also very, very good and interesting stuff.

All of this being said, in a completely blind taste test of several different rye whiskeys, I scored Rittenouse BIB a point higher than 4 or 5 other higher (significantly, in a few cases) priced whiskeys. Apparently I like it that much.



I understand that popularity and quality are two different things but if someone is interested in rye whiskey, they might find it instructive to try what most people mean when they think of rye whiskey. If you're discovering something new, a good baseline is always the product of that type that dominates the marketplace. How will you know Rit BIB is better if you don't compare it to something?


Agreed.


30+ replies and nobody has mentioned Old Overholt yet?

I like the phrasing of the original question:

Which rye do you taste and say, "if a person tries and likes this, he's hooked for life on rye whiskey, and if he doesn't like it, he really doesn't like rye."

Ritt BIB is my favorite, too, but precisely for its more bourbon-ish and less rye-like qualities -- I don't think it answers the question. WT Rye and JB yellow label (or OO) would be my recommendations (kind of like the Scotch question should split into peated vs. unpeated to really cover all tastes.)

I agree that Old Overholt should be thrown into the mix, but I don't feel that it should be the qualifier that determines whether or not one likes ryes. I love Ritt, Handy, some of the ORVWRRs, but I don't particularly care for OO. Likewise, I don't really care for Highland Park, yet I really, really like Laphroiag (QC and 18yr) and Glenlivet (Nadurra, 15 & 18 yr)


It only dominates the market because it's made and marketed by the mighty Beam, who uses that influence to force distribution on lazy retail and restaurant buyers who just want the cheapest and easiest path.

I would say that both Beam Rye and OO barely taste like anything, much less the "baseline Rye," which is why this gentleman should buy WT and Baby Saz. But I agree that one should try Beam and OO Rye, so order it at any number of restaurants off their rail.

I disagree. If there was no demand, supply would start to dwindle. A lot of it does have to do with advertising, but Beam is cheap and it's not bad bourbon from the perspective of someone eyeballing Jack, WT, Beam, and EW. It's got more character than EW, it's less expensive than WT and Jack. Why not? Jim Beam is an American whiskey, made for the American Worker. Just like Marlboros. As long as there is demand, there will be supply. And with many people, they simply don't want to try something new and more expensive.

I have, on many occasions, drank JBW neat. I foresee myself doing so many more times. It's not the worst bourbon ever made by a longshot.

cowdery
12-12-2011, 16:04
It only dominates the market because it's made and marketed by the mighty Beam, who uses that influence to force distribution on lazy retail and restaurant buyers who just want the cheapest and easiest path.

I don't agree with that demeaning and insulting view of either American whiskey drinkers or retailers. Overholt, Beam, Turkey and Rittenhouse (Heaven Hill) kept rye alive when it virtually went extinct. They continued to supply rye drinkers and rye drinkers, despite their shrinking numbers, continued to buy those brands, which had enough patronage to survive. Just because I like something different than what somebody else likes doesn't automatically mean they are mindless sheep who are brainwashed into buying a substandard product, as you and many others seem to believe. Give people a little more credit. Why does liking something you don't have to make them idiots?

ErichPryde
12-12-2011, 16:29
I don't agree with that demeaning and insulting view of either American whiskey drinkers or retailers. Overholt, Beam, Turkey and Rittenhouse (Heaven Hill) kept rye alive when it virtually went extinct. They continued to supply rye drinkers and rye drinkers, despite their shrinking numbers, continued to buy those brands, which had enough patronage to survive. Just because I like something different than what somebody else likes doesn't automatically mean they are mindless sheep who are brainwashed into buying a substandard product, as you and many others seem to believe. Give people a little more credit. Why does liking something you don't have to make them idiots?

Shoot, what ryes were even readily available in most places even 7 years ago? I was barely old enough to drink whiskey then, and wasn't paying attention. For the rye drinker like me, right now is awesome. Tomorrow is looking better. I can afford to be picky enough to say that I don't like most of the 6+ 95%ers out there. I can be picky enough to say I don't prefer OO. But readily available ryes pre 2002? In the mid 90's?

White Dog
12-12-2011, 17:41
I don't agree with that demeaning and insulting view of either American whiskey drinkers or retailers. Overholt, Beam, Turkey and Rittenhouse (Heaven Hill) kept rye alive when it virtually went extinct. They continued to supply rye drinkers and rye drinkers, despite their shrinking numbers, continued to buy those brands, which had enough patronage to survive. Just because I like something different than what somebody else likes doesn't automatically mean they are mindless sheep who are brainwashed into buying a substandard product, as you and many others seem to believe. Give people a little more credit. Why does liking something you don't have to make them idiots?

First of all, I should have been more specific in my post. Due to my job in wine wholesale, I was referring to professional restaurant/retail buyers who decide on which placements to make. Those people are the lazy ones. I was not referring to the public who buys these products. And there are many dynamic people in these decision maker roles, but the majority are not. Let me add that I am often forced to order Beam products, as those are all that most restaurants carry in my state. So I am one of those idiots who drink Beam Rye on-premise.

And they are not sheep for drinking Beam Rye, but rather the problem is that the industry does not give them better options. Who on this forum would prefer Beam Rye to Pikesville or Ritt? But unfortunately, Heaven Hill is number 2, to Beam's number 1.

Also, I never once called anyone an idiot. You used that term.

Also, I have praised Turkey Rye and Ritt plenty of times on this forum.

The other problem is no other company came in to really supply the bottom-shelf Rye market, except for Beam. That may be the case, but it is lamentable.

Some people on this site are big apologists for Beam. I am not one.

timd
12-12-2011, 18:39
The other problem is no other company came in to really supply the bottom-shelf Rye market, except for Beam. That may be the case, but it is lamentable.

I agree with White Dog - he makes the best point - it's a "bottom shelf" Rye. It's like arguing about why we don't sing the praises of or steer people to $12/liter bourbon.

Rye is a slightly premium group given the above $15 entry point (at least where I am) - but among the Rye choices, Beam is priced (and tastes like) the bottom shelf.

It's easily $4-5 less than any other competitor (20%-25% less) which, lets face it, in this economy is a difference maker. Beam prices & positions their Rye (and some of their other products) at the bottom of the tier, and expects it to be consumed by folks with a "bottom shelf" mindset. That doesn't mean they don't have premium/super-premium products, because as we all know they do... but JB Rye isn't one of them.

If I wanted to steer someone to the best experience, JB Rye won't be on the list.

We don't get flack for dogging on Jack Daniels or Crown Royal (category/market leaders). Why the grousing over dogging on JB Rye or Old Overcoat? They simply aren't very good.

I'm sure there are plenty of people who enjoy it as a mixer - and I'd bet that the vast majority of the JB Rye sales go to bars/restaurant by significant margin - than are sold off the shelf. But if you need a rye for making drinks, and you aren't discriminating, you'll buy the cheapest one - and JB Rye wins that battle hands-down. That's where the sales come from - not from people trying to have a "good rye experience." Nothing wrong with that, either - I buy generic Kahlua, Baileys, Midori, etc. all the time - because I can't tell the difference, and don't care because I'm mixing them - and primarily because they are MUCH cheaper.

That's the niche JB Rye fills... not for the person searching for the quintessential inexpensive Rye!

ErichPryde
12-12-2011, 19:13
I agree with White Dog - he makes the best point - it's a "bottom shelf" Rye. It's like arguing about why we don't sing the praises of or steer people to $12/liter bourbon....

...We don't get flack for dogging on Jack Daniels or Crown Royal (category/market leaders). Why the grousing over dogging on JB Rye or Old Overcoat? They simply aren't very good....

...That's the niche JB Rye fills... not for the person searching for the quintessential inexpensive Rye!


Let me throw myself under the bus for a moment. Excluding Jim Beam Rye would be like me excluding all of the 95%+ers.

No, Jim Beam isn't a glorious whiskey... But it's okay, readily available, and really inexpensive. As an example of the whiskey craft, it's probably better than their white label. As Chuck pointed out, it maintained the rye market when only a select few were drinking rye.

Jim Beam rye was the first rye I tried, followed by RRR90. And you know? I actually knew that I liked rye when I tried the beam- even though it isn't the best.

The major problem with Beam rye is that its a bit thin. And that isn't really a problem to the inexperienced drinker.

I think Jim Beam gets flack for the same reason that JD and CR do. The same reason that I have given maker's so much crap in the past.

AaronWF
12-13-2011, 10:51
If someone is curious about whiskey, it's easy to walk into a liquor store and buy a bottle. Anywhere in the country, and just about anywhere in the world where American whiskey is sold, the rye on the shelf will be Beam Rye. Nobody needs to come here and be steered to the ubiquitous bottom-shelvers; that is something Beam and Co. are pros at doing themselves. People come here to learn about how to go about finding the good buys they've never heard of. Anyone can spend $10 for the juice in the plastic bottle, but places like this forum can help someone find the step up in quality for the step up in price in the $20 range and beyond.

dohidied
12-13-2011, 12:57
Jim Beam rye was the first rye I tried. And you know? I actually knew that I liked rye when I tried the beam- even though it isn't the best.



Same here. When I discovered bourbon in 2008 it was hard for me to find any information about rye (I hadn't discovered SB.com yet) or find any in a store. But there was Jim Beam Rye, staring at me on a shelf. I bought a bottle and said "Aha, that is different from bourbon!" I wouldn't buy another bottle today, but it's far from rotgut.

ErichPryde
12-13-2011, 13:27
If someone is curious about whiskey, it's easy to walk into a liquor store and buy a bottle. Anywhere in the country, and just about anywhere in the world where American whiskey is sold, the rye on the shelf will be Beam Rye. Nobody needs to come here and be steered to the ubiquitous bottom-shelvers; that is something Beam and Co. are pros at doing themselves. People come here to learn about how to go about finding the good buys they've never heard of. Anyone can spend $10 for the juice in the plastic bottle, but places like this forum can help someone find the step up in quality for the step up in price in the $20 range and beyond.

Quality is a relative thing, and it isn't necessarily a function of cost. The entire point is that just because we're all whiskey snobs with a bunch of better recommendations, it doesn't mean anyone should discount the bottom shelf if they haven't tried the ""plastic"" bottles down there. Additionally, Rye drinkers owe some thanks to beam.

smokinjoe
12-13-2011, 14:28
Quality is a relative thing, and it isn't necessarily a function of cost. The entire point is that just because we're all whiskey snobs with a bunch of better recommendations, it doesn't mean anyone should discount the bottom shelf if they haven't tried the ""plastic"" bottles down there. Additionally, Rye drinkers owe some thanks to beam.

Agreed, Erik. I've been totally enjoying an 80 proof, sub-$20, PET plastic, 1.75 liter, bottle of Fleischmann's Rye over the last few weeks. All of that neither sounds, nor looks good, but is wonderful whiskey, and I'd pay triple...

White Dog
12-13-2011, 14:33
Agreed, Erik. I've been totally enjoying an 80 proof, sub-$20, PET plastic, 1.75 liter, bottle of Fleischmann's Rye over the last few weeks. All of that neither sounds, nor looks good, but is wonderful whiskey, and I'd pay triple...

Now that is a fine 80proof Rye. You must have a connection in my state to be holding one of those, as it's WI only. I only hope Sazerac keeps releasing it in that form.

ErichPryde
12-13-2011, 15:15
Agreed, Erik. I've been totally enjoying an 80 proof, sub-$20, PET plastic, 1.75 liter, bottle of Fleischmann's Rye over the last few weeks. All of that neither sounds, nor looks good, but is wonderful whiskey, and I'd pay triple...

Now that's a rye I haven't tried, and would love to. I'll have to hunt one down one of these days! Who owns the fleischmann's name?

White Dog
12-13-2011, 17:54
Now that's a rye I haven't tried, and would love to. I'll have to hunt one down one of these days! Who owns the fleischmann's name?

It's only sold in Wisconsin for some strange reason, and it's made at Barton of all places. Since Sazerac bought it, I'm waiting for it to all go into Baby Saz.:rolleyes::smiley_acbt:

It's actually pretty damn good. $18.99 for a handle, and it's now only in handles.

ErichPryde
12-13-2011, 18:09
It's only sold in Wisconsin for some strange reason, and it's made at Barton of all places. Since Sazerac bought it, I'm waiting for it to all go into Baby Saz.:rolleyes::smiley_acbt:

It's actually pretty damn good. $18.99 for a handle, and it's now only in handles.

I THOUGHT it might be barton. I think their mashbill is 53% rye... I will have to hunt some down.

White Dog
12-13-2011, 18:13
I THOUGHT it might be barton. I think their mashbill is 53% rye... I will have to hunt some down.

Maybe if they do start blending it in, you and I may start to actually like Baby Saz.:lol:

It's funny, but Barton and B-F make my favorite cheap Ryes, but most people never associate those places with Rye.

ErichPryde
12-13-2011, 18:31
Maybe if they do start blending it in, you and I may start to actually like Baby Saz.:lol:

It's funny, but Barton and B-F make my favorite cheap Ryes, but most people never associate those places with Rye.

A quantity of the rye that HW has, came from Barton stocks.Their 21 year old is Barton stock. Of course, the mashbill now could be different than it was in 1990ish, but I don't know why it would be.

White Dog
12-13-2011, 18:53
A quantity of the rye that HW has, came from Barton stocks.Their 21 year old is Barton stock. Of course, the mashbill now could be different than it was in 1990ish, but I don't know why it would be.

I've heard that. In fact, somewhere on this site Perkins said as much. And a friend recently poured me a taste of the 21yr Rye, and I thought it was amazing.

And I'm sure it's the same mashbill, given Kentucky's penchant for change.:lol: :lol: :lol:

jburlowski
12-14-2011, 10:29
I THOUGHT it might be barton. I think their mashbill is 53% rye... I will have to hunt some down.

I had a chance to taste a 100% rye made by Barton..... superb stuff! Unfortunately, it (and their wheater) is not likely to see the light of day (except maybe via Bowman or the bulk market).

White Dog
12-14-2011, 14:14
I had a chance to taste a 100% rye made by Barton..... superb stuff! Unfortunately, it (and their wheater) is not likely to see the light of day (except maybe via Bowman or the bulk market).

They make a wheated recipe???:bigeyes:

Where has it been going? I would assume that now it can simply go into Weller, but were they making it prior to Sazerac ownership??

cowdery
12-14-2011, 18:47
According to Buffalo Trace, no one knows why Barton was making wheated bourbon and nothing has been done with it yet. I don't think it's very old.

Barton was quietly doing contract distilling and selling bulk whiskey before Sazerac took over.

White Dog
12-14-2011, 20:24
According to Buffalo Trace, no one knows why Barton was making wheated bourbon and nothing has been done with it yet. I don't think it's very old.

Barton was quietly doing contract distilling and selling bulk whiskey before Sazerac took over.

And people wonder why conspiracy theories abound concerning Kentucky Whiskey? "According to BT, no one knows why..."

If you shelled out millions for Tom Moore, would you not think to ask Constellation, or whomever sold it to you, "Hey, what's up with the Wheater??":skep: :rolleyes: :skep:

jburlowski
12-15-2011, 06:24
According to Buffalo Trace, no one knows why Barton was making wheated bourbon and nothing has been done with it yet. I don't think it's very old.

Barton was quietly doing contract distilling and selling bulk whiskey before Sazerac took over.

When I tasted (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showpost.php?p=222625&postcount=1) it in the fall of 2010 is was four years old. KenPierce, who was the Master Chemist at Barton, told me that they (Barton) had planned a wheater release when the juice was five or six years old. BT's acquisition put an end to that. The BT rep on hand said the wheater would not be released to the public but wouldn't say why. (I suspect they wanted to avoid confusion / competition with the Weller expressions.) Same with the "pure" rye.

My hope is that at least some of this whiskey gets released via one of Bowman's "one-off" bottlings. Otherwise I imagine it will end up on the bulk market.

Zanaspus
12-15-2011, 15:36
Not to interrupt the new path, but I just got home with Bulleit Rye, WT Rye, EC12 and Buffalo Trace (figured 2 and 2 was a good plan and there was no baby Saz in beautiful Ohio). Anyway, I cracked the Bulleit about 15 minutes ago, and all I can say is WOW!

I know I have lots of things to taste, but right now, I think I like this better than Bourbon. It even rivals the beloved scotch that got me into this whole mess!

Thanks for all the guidance from a new rye lover. :cool:

timd
12-15-2011, 16:42
I think I like this better than Bourbon. It even rivals the beloved scotch that got me into this whole mess!

I, too, come to American whiskey via Scotch - and honestly (as blasphemous as it may be...) prefer Rye to most bourbon. Don't get me wrong - I love bourbon, but more often than not, I reach for Rye over Bourbon. I've probably got 2-to-1 in my bunker in favor of Rye vs. Bourbon (actually right now it's more like 4-to-1).

Something about Rye just really resonates with me - like a big ol' peaty single malt, it's got that same vibrancy/richness.

Now you just need to get your hands on some VWFRR, Saz 18 or Vintage 21 to really get your addiction ramped up!

Shell
12-15-2011, 17:50
... I think I like this better than Bourbon. It even rivals the beloved scotch that got me into this whole mess!...


I, too, come to American whiskey via Scotch - and honestly (as blasphemous as it may be...) prefer Rye to most bourbon. ...
Something about Rye just really resonates with me - like a big ol' peaty single malt, it's got that same vibrancy/richness. ...

You are really not alone, my friends. I am a real aficionado of Islay single-malt scotch, and found my way to rye whiskey several years ago. (My affinity for rye is how I found my way to straightbourbon.com.) Both are my 'go-to' whiskies now. I am always introducing people to rye, and even make sure to educate the restaurant or bar that I visit about offering a good rye whiskey. (And, now most recently, I find that I'm enjoying some of the high-rye recipe bourbons.)

cowdery
12-15-2011, 19:51
I don't doubt Ken is telling the truth but I suspect he wasn't told the truth. Barton had never been quick to introduce new brands. I don't know. I suspect someone knows more than they're saying.

Mark Brown (president of Sazerac) seems very open and he is about many things, but he's very good at not telling you things he doesn't want you to know. He doesn't lie about it, he just doesn't tell you. He's very disciplined and never slips.

With most people, you ask them something and you can see on their face that they're thinking, "I know I'm not supposed to talk about that, what can I say?" That's when people tell dumb lies that don't make any sense.

Here's a conspiracy theory, based on nothing, but maybe you can have some fun with it. Everyone knows Maker's Mark bourbon is 100% made at the Maker's Mark Distillery. The brand has never contained bulk whiskey made somewhere else.

Everyone also knows that Maker's is approaching the limit of its water supply. There are ways they can expand beyond that, but they're tricky and involve major changes. What if Beam hired Barton to make some wheated bourbon, made as close as possible to the Maker's formula, with the idea of someday slipping some of that whiskey into Maker's. They weren't doing it, they were just testing it, and there was some reason why they contracted it to Barton rather than doing it at a Beam plant. And maybe that also explains how Barton's master distiller, Greg Davis, came to be master distiller at Maker's.

White Dog
12-15-2011, 20:20
I don't doubt Ken is telling the truth but I suspect he wasn't told the truth. Barton had never been quick to introduce new brands. I don't know. I suspect someone knows more than they're saying.

Mark Brown (president of Sazerac) seems very open and he is about many things, but he's very good at not telling you things he doesn't want you to know. He doesn't lie about it, he just doesn't tell you. He's very disciplined and never slips.

With most people, you ask them something and you can see on their face that they're thinking, "I know I'm not supposed to talk about that, what can I say?" That's when people tell dumb lies that don't make any sense.

Here's a conspiracy theory, based on nothing, but maybe you can have some fun with it. Everyone knows Maker's Mark bourbon is 100% made at the Maker's Mark Distillery. The brand has never contained bulk whiskey made somewhere else.

Everyone also knows that Maker's is approaching the limit of its water supply. There are ways they can expand beyond that, but they're tricky and involve major changes. What if Beam hired Barton to make some wheated bourbon, made as close as possible to the Maker's formula, with the idea of someday slipping some of that whiskey into Maker's. They weren't doing it, they were just testing it, and there was some reason why they contracted it to Barton rather than doing it at a Beam plant. And maybe that also explains how Barton's master distiller, Greg Davis, came to be master distiller at Maker's.

I love it! "Based on nothing??" Right! Funny, as you'd think they could make a bit at Boston or Clermont without too much fuss, but you never know...

cowdery
12-16-2011, 11:04
Yes, I want to emphasize that I completely made that up. Based on no evidence or speculation whatsoever.

Though, actually, I do find the whole thing rather mysterious and agree Mark probably knows more than he's saying.