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LostBottle
12-26-2012, 00:50
It looks like NPR Morning Edition has a story about the rye resurgence.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/12/26/167615838/the-rebirth-of-rye-whiskey-and-nostalgia-for-the-good-stuff

shoshani
12-26-2012, 08:33
I have to admit, as I read that article I am popping popcorn for when Col. Cowdery sees it. :D

Kalessin
12-26-2012, 11:49
"The Salt" blog at NPR posted about rye whiskey:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/12/26/167615838/the-rebirth-of-rye-whiskey-and-nostalgia-for-the-good-stuff

callmeox
12-26-2012, 12:35
The two threads have been merged to keep the conversation in one place.

UncleJohnsBarrel
12-26-2012, 20:08
For what it's worth, I give credit to WR if they are really going to wait until 2016 to release their rye after it ages a little. With Jack (not gonna touch the JAck/COLA issue here) and other brands coming out with rye in the form of white dog, I respect WR resisting the market trend and being willing to age their rye for what I assume they feel is a sufficient amount of time (at least 4 years it sounds like).

HighInTheMtns
12-26-2012, 20:32
For what it's worth, I give credit to WR if they are really going to wait until 2016 to release their rye after it ages a little. With Jack (not gonna touch the JAck/COLA issue here) and other brands coming out with rye in the form of white dog, I respect WR resisting the market trend and being willing to age their rye for what I assume they feel is a sufficient amount of time (at least 4 years it sounds like).
I haven't thought about that but I agree. It's interesting especially considering that these are both Brown-Forman brands.

Maybe this belongs in the White Dog thread, but I think the choice is either unaged or >4 years. No major distiller is going to come out with a rye that is aged but doesn't qualify to be NAS; the competition in that range is not very expensive.

squire
12-27-2012, 23:06
Isn't that a lark? The templeton guy says the story is so good you can't make it up when in fact the whole story is made up.

I'll wait for the WR stuff.

LostBottle
12-28-2012, 00:44
I like that NPR seemed to have done their homework for this story. They nail the fact that Templeton Rye is contract produced by someone other than Templeton and they informed us about the back story. I will also add that while I do not care for Woodford bourbon, it is cool they are laying down barrels and waiting for them to age rather than releasing young "artisinal" rye.

BourbonRob
12-28-2012, 08:34
Well I have been drinking more rye lately, my favorite being EH Taylor rye BIB. old tyme rye taste and is well worth the $65 price tag

IowaJeff
12-28-2012, 09:02
I was excited to hear about a WR rye as well. Hopefully they will put a bit more age on that one. There are a lot of ryes on the shelves right now, but they are all in the 4-6 age range, and a lot are a really high % of rye. For the sake of variety I'd like to see a 'regular' release with a little more age on it, maybe 8-10.

Templeton rye, by the way, is everywhere in Iowa now. For a long time you couldn't get a bottle, now you can get it at gas stations and Walgreens. They've also changed the back label from a hand-written batch and bottle number to a silly 'endorsement' from some progeny of Al Capone. Looks like now that the market is flooded with similar quality rye whiskey they're doubling down on Capone. I haven't had a bottle in a couple of years so I can't comment on the taste of the current batches.

cowdery
12-28-2012, 13:19
I don't make it my mission to get up in arms anytime somebody writes a puff piece about Templeton or Michter's or any of the other Potemkins. I've put the information out there. Anybody who does five minutes worth of research will find it. If they can't be bothered, screw 'em. I don't care that much. This is especially the lazy season for that kind of journalism. Chicago Tribune did it too recently. Caveat Emptor.

LostBottle
12-28-2012, 19:51
I don't make it my mission to get up in arms anytime somebody writes a puff piece about Templeton or Michter's or any of the other Potemkins. I've put the information out there. Anybody who does five minutes worth of research will find it. If they can't be bothered, screw 'em. I don't care that much. This is especially the lazy season for that kind of journalism. Chicago Tribune did it too recently. Caveat Emptor.

Chuck, how is the article a "puff piece" or lazy journalism? Did you actually read it? It was plainly called out that Templeton Rye is distilled at another facility in Shelbyville, Indiana and only the actual bottling takes place at the Templeton, Iowa facility - it could not have been made much clearer. The audio segment, and accompanying transcript, also pointed out the fact that this rye has a backstory that was exploited for marketing purposes. I understand that you did not write the article, but that fact does not automatically invalidate it.

TomH
12-28-2012, 20:02
Chuck, how is the article a "puff piece" or lazy journalism? Did you actually read it? It was plainly called out that Templeton Rye is distilled at another facility in Shelbyville, Indiana and only the actual bottling takes place at the Templeton, Iowa facility - it could not have been made much clearer. The audio segment, and accompanying transcript, also pointed out the fact that this rye has a backstory that was exploited for marketing purposes. I understand that you did not write the article, but that fact does not automatically invalidate it.

Not Chuck, but.....

The fact that they can't get the location of the distillery screams lazy journalism....there is no distillery in or near Shelbyville IN.....the distillery is in Lawrenceburg, IN.

The article also promotes the Templeton myth of a secret recipe rather than bottling bulk LDI/MGP rye.

squire
12-28-2012, 21:54
A secret family recipe which cannot be true of a product sourced from LDI, facts easily verified. And the article repeats that canard about this stuff being Al Capone's favorite. Please, we're expected to believe a man who was a millionaire and who had the World's finest Wines, Champagnes, Cognacs and Whiskies at his fingertips instead sent his henchmen out into the boondocks (to a land far, far away from Chicago) just to satisfy his craving for some day old hooch? Not bloody likely.

LostBottle
12-28-2012, 22:18
A secret family recipe which cannot be true of a product sourced from LDI, facts easily verified.

Then please verify said facts and report back with the evidence.

Here is what SourMashManifesto said (http://sourmashmanifesto.com/2011/10/09/templeton-rye-whiskey-review/) on that issue:
"Templeton confirms that the whiskey is greater than 90% rye grain with the remainder being malted barley. Interestingly LDI has a stock rye whiskey mashbill that is 95% rye. This is the juice that Bulleit, Redemption, and many others use in their products. It’s likely to me that Templeton Rye Whiskey is 95% rye based on this but that is only an assumption on my part."

Cowdery said (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?15639-Making-of-Templeton-Rye-Video/page2):
"We don't know it's not a custom job. we only know what we know and based on what we know it's very unlikely that it's a custom job."


So, it seems that while Templeton is probably just standard MGP/LDI juice, this cannot actually be verified and can only be called speculation. Should NPR have reported on speculation?

squire
12-28-2012, 22:30
Pay my standard retainer plus hourly billing and I'll verify whatever you like.

LostBottle
12-28-2012, 22:44
Squire, should we ever meet, I'll buy us both a round of Templeton so we can deride it together and at least agree on that.

HighInTheMtns
12-28-2012, 22:45
MGP lists details about everything they make on their website. They're not making custom mashbills for the two Diageo brands they supply, they're not doing so for Willett, they're not doing so for High West. Speculation that they are making a custom mashbill for Templeton is on shakier ground than is speculation that they're not.


Squire, should we ever meet, I'll buy us both a round of Templeton so we can deride it together and at least agree on that.
This made me laugh.

squire
12-28-2012, 23:28
Lost I would never deride free whisky.

cowdery
12-29-2012, 15:50
Since the sale and new openness at MGPI Lawrenceburg (not Shelbyville), we can be pretty sure they haven't been doing custom distilling for anyone. Also, the claim that the whiskey in the bottle now is the same as the whiskey made during Prohibition is false on its face, since that whiskey was likely mostly or entirely table sugar, i.e., not even whiskey and certainly not aged. It's hard enough to hide an illegal still from revenue agents, let alone an illegal warehouse with thousands of barrels in it, plus where would the barrels come from? All you really need is a brain and about 5 minutes use of it to know Templeton's tale is bullshit and all NPR did was repeat Templeton's bullshit. Why bend yourself into a pretzel trying to justify them? I didn't read the article but I did hear the story on NPR, and I assume they're the same. As for the 'story' as repeated by old Templetonians, it's not hard to believe that Templeton had some reputation as a place where illegal alcohol could be had. There were many such places. It's a big leap from that to claiming a fully aged straight rye whiskey is the legacy. As for the Capone story, just about every town in the midwest has a similar tale. It's like the Biblical flood story, just about every ancient culture in the world has one. Remember too that Capone's reign ended in 1931 -- 82 years ago. Most of the Templeton old-timers who are stumping for the brand weren't even born when the events they're talking about occurred. They're either repeating stories they heard as kids or, just as likely, saying what Templeton president Scott Bush told them to say. Again, it doesn't take a genius to figure that out. But, yeah, I'm the bad guy here.

Also, Sazerac Rye is not a "longtime New Orleans favorite" unless you consider seven years a long time. Sazerac Rye was introduced in 2005.

squire
12-29-2012, 18:01
Ah, memory is such a fleeting glimpse. If someone had asked me today I'd have sworn with a true heart and clear conscience that we were drinking Sazerac Rye since 2002.

cowdery
12-30-2012, 10:20
Might be 2002. Either way, not a 'longtime' favorite and, again, that's sloppy journalism. The Sazerac Cocktail is a 'longtime New Orleans favorite,' but Sazerac Rye is a recent introduction.

LostBottle
12-30-2012, 11:09
'Longtime' is subjective, there really is no right or wrong, so I question whether this constitutes sloppy journalism. For some of us who are much too young to remember glut whiskey, Saz is a longtime favorite. Additionally, in the context of the recent rebirth of rye, which the story was about, Saz has comparatively been around for a long time.

If you don't like the story, it would seem that the thing to do is set it straight on your blogspot account where it can be taken more seriously, and possibly seen by more people than pay attention to those self-aggrandizing and irrelevant NPR journalists - how dare they write about whiskey?!

squire
12-30-2012, 14:09
Hey, I know some of those NPR folks, good company but they all (the ones I know) think Bourbon is for rednecks.

MyOldKyDram
12-30-2012, 17:24
Damn it to hell you mean it ain't?

squire
12-30-2012, 17:50
The opinion of those who look down their nose while sniffing their single malt. A blend actually, I poured it in the SM bottle and they can't tell the difference.

cowdery
12-30-2012, 19:02
I can't express how much I enjoy it when people tell me how to do my job. Want to guess why I work for myself?

MauiSon
12-31-2012, 03:50
...and another thing there, Chuck. We want more reviews this year, I say, you've got to increase your intake, increase your output and maintain that high quality. That's what I say!

squire
12-31-2012, 10:39
I don't tell a guy what to do 'till after my check has cleared.

Brisko
01-02-2013, 11:40
Back to the Woodford end of the story. The NPR piece suggests that the rye is being made entirely at Versailles. My own good sense suggests that now that Heaven Hill is (presumably) back to running their rye in-house, that B/F is going to continue running the bulk of their rye at Early Times (to their own specs) and will mingle it with whatever "show" barrels they have at Versailles.

But that's just my own barely educated guess.

squire
01-02-2013, 12:01
I suspect you're more than barely right.

cowdery
01-02-2013, 14:01
It has been impressed on me in no uncertain terms by both the BF and HH folks that BF is not continuing to produce the same rye it made for HH. But it has also been strongly hinted that BF is producing rye and will introduce a rye at some point. I'm also assured that the rye they're making now at Woodford is not the same as the rye they made at Woodford for the Masters Collection, as they are committed to keeping those as one-offs. The idea is that they might learn something from a MC that they'll apply to a later line extension, but it won't be exactly the same. As for whether or not some future Woodford rye will be a mixture of Woodford and BF whiskey, I wouldn't assume one or the other. Just as likely, to my mind, would be a super-premium (i.e., expensive) all-Woodford rye and a more popular-priced BF rye. They might even be different recipes, whereas Woodford and BF's Old Forester are the same recipe.

The standard Woodford wasn't originally intended to evolve as it did. The original intention was to swith from BF-made to Woodford-made when the Woodford-made came of age, but by then the brand was already selling more than Woodford alone could support and since BF was (and still is) operating well below capacity, the system was implemented where Distiller's Select will always be some of each, though not necessarily 50-50. The MC is all Woodford and always has been.

Despite all of the publicity, 3-4 days a year is still about what all the distilleries are devoting to rye production.

squire
01-02-2013, 14:24
Thanks Chuck, that's good to hear. A BF/Forester Rye is a thing devoutly to be wished.

Gillman
01-02-2013, 14:38
Based on the couple of WR's that were released as all-Versailles whiskey (one was a 4-grain IIRC), I doubt that whiskey would sell well at the age it is currently being bottled as a mingling with Louisville-made bourbon. It is a pretty strong and emphatic taste, and I think the mingling approach suits it well. It may not have been the original intention, but it has worked out for the best IMO. That said, I would enjoy trying the Versailles production on its own at an older age, 8-12 years say. Hopefully one day a LE will be released of such bourbon. In other words I believe an alembic pot still approach can work well on its own but that it likely needs more time.

Gary

tmckenzie
01-02-2013, 18:50
Just wondering. If B-F had it to do over, would they have still installed those pots? Or would they have installed a more traditional yet smaller bourbon production plant with a traditional beer still?

HighInTheMtns
01-02-2013, 18:54
Just wondering. If B-F had it to do over, would they have still installed those pots? Or would they have installed a more traditional yet smaller bourbon production plant with a traditional beer still?
I would have to say they see it as a success. They sell the bourbon and the distillery is a successful tourist attraction. They haven't captured the hearts of the enthusiast crowd... But then, I don't really think B-F cares too much about that.

But if they do: cask strength, 10 year old OF at a reasonable price, please :)

squire
01-02-2013, 23:15
With a really cool label like the Early Times 150th edition.

cowdery
01-03-2013, 11:54
They very much consider it a success. I can't think of anything they would have done differently. One of these days they're going to double down on it, installing another identical three-pot system.

Gillman
01-03-2013, 12:05
Good question Tom. I think the small production/pot still has gotten them a lot of traction, and good for them. As for the actual taste of the aged make on its own (I've had it in various formats including a bottle produced for Bourbons Bistro in Louisville and the aforesaid Four Grain, plus you can taste it quite clearly in regular WR), I don't consider it an improvement on their regular column still bourbon. To the contrary in fact. However the mingling works well to minimize, and yet showcase as something distinctive, that strong pot still taste. We must remember that they choose to bottle a mingling at 5-6 years old, is my understanding. Even factoring the new-charred barrel and the different climate, that's not very long when compared to the typical age of a good malt in Scotland or Ireland. I believe the waxy-like notes would turn into something more interesting with a few more years in wood. However, clearly what they have done has worked for them.

Gary

smokinjoe
01-03-2013, 12:14
If I missed it here, please forgive me, but does anyone know if the white dog from the Woodford stills have that signature taste profile? I would guess that it would certainly have to, and be quite unique to any other WD.

mosugoji64
01-03-2013, 22:00
If I missed it here, please forgive me, but does anyone know if the white dog from the Woodford stills have that signature taste profile? I would guess that it would certainly have to, and be quite unique to any other WD.

I have a bottle of VG and a WRDO, and they both have that distinctive taste that I attribute to pot-still whiskey. Tasting the WD would be interesting to see to what degree that flavor exists in the unaged stuff. There has to be someone around here who has nabbed a nip of WR WD!

cowdery
01-04-2013, 19:30
If I missed it here, please forgive me, but does anyone know if the white dog from the Woodford stills have that signature taste profile? I would guess that it would certainly have to, and be quite unique to any other WD.

I've had the WR white dog on numerous occasions and compared it to the Louisville white dog. The WR is a little nuttier and a little creamier.

Although they'd probably never admit this, one thing WR demonstrates is that there is very little inherent difference between a pot system and a column system in terms of the final product.

Everything I've experienced over the years convinces me that the inherent superiority of pot stills is one of the most unfounded myths in whiskeydom.

squire
01-04-2013, 19:50
I agree Chuck but as far as myths go that's one of the better ones.

Gillman
01-04-2013, 20:02
I've never tasted the white dog but IMO the pot still notes are very evident in the matured Versailles make and very different from the Louisville bourbon. This is not just due to numerous direct comparisons between Old Forester (86 and 100 proof) and WR (regular and all-pot-still versions), but I can recognize pot still similarities between pot still bourbon and pot still rum or pot still Irish. Again, it is a mineral, waxy, tallow-like scent and taste. The pot still whiskey is heavier and provides good body in the mingling. If anyone has a bottle of Don Outterson's bourbon(s), compare them with WR (any iteration) side by side: there is a clear similarity in the characteristics noted (slate, oils again). I find similar ones again in Anchor Distilling's ryes, or the recently revived Lot No. 40 Canadian whisky. Obviously these drinks don't taste identical but they present, I believe to one who does a side-by-side, certain similarities attributable to the pot still.

Malts have them too but usually receive much more prolonged aging and therefore there is surely greater modification of this taste. But still the other day in a Highland Park 18 year old I noticed again the rich sheepswool-like taste of a good old-fashioned malt. I get it ditto in some good Cognac despite the different feedstock source for the spirit, and, returning to grains as the source, Irish single pot still (that "copper penny-and-oil" taste).

I believe it is not just distillation proof that does this since I understand Versailles make comes out at just under 160 proof while the Louisville does so at a rather lower number - the difference in character of the aged makes must surely then be the pot still vs. the column still. In turn this means (I believe) that pot still make and column still make at comparable proofs are not identical in composition, that the pot still one is more likely to retain certain congeners.

Based on many tastings over the years of pot-stilled American whiskeys of between 3-6 years aged, I prefer column still whiskey. It seems cleaner and more palatable. However, pot still whiskey can add complexity and interest when mingled with this latter (especially in cocktails), hence the genius of the WR formula whatever again the original intent was in setting up a pot still distillery for bourbon. I would emphasize though that few if any of these products (the pot still) have been tasted at anything comparable to a Scots single malt, even a young one. Perhaps Versailles make on its own at 10-12 years is a stupendous drink, or Don Outterson's bourbon. Hopefully these spirits or ones of their type will in the future be released at older ages so one can see if the further maturation does improve the spirit in a way that column still whiskey cannot attain.

Finally, I do not claim all pot still spirits have the characteristics mentioned above. Some Scots malts are quite light, e.g. the surviving Lowlands malts, and not just those. Much can depend on the size and shape of the stills and retorts.

But I do feel, based on a certain experience, that many pot still spirits have the similarities noted.

Gary