View Full Version : Six Rye Shootout!

08-30-2004, 11:24
Yesterday Bob and I performed the 'daunting' and perilous task of performing a 6 Rye Shootout between Jim Beam Rye, Old Overholt, Wild Turkey Rye, Van Winkle Family Reserve 13yo Rye, Sazerac 18yo Rye (2003 Release) and The Classic Cask 21yo Rye bottled in 2003. Here's what we noted as we drank each cut and pasted from our MS Word tasting notes... Enjoy! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

Beam Rye –No age statement and 80 proof. Light in color, a little harsh in the nose, very young tasting in that it doesn’t taste very well balanced or ‘mature’ in flavor. Still seems to have a bit of distillate smell in the nose.

Old Overholt – 4yo and 80 proof. A bit darker than the Beam rye and a bit more smoother. It seems to have more balance to it than the beam rye.

Wild Turkey Rye – No age but 101 proof. More flavor (spicy) and better balanced than the beam. Where the Old Overholt seemed one dimensional this one really shows more character.

Van Winkle fr rye 13yo – 95.6 proof 13yo though we heard thru the grapevine that it may be as old as 19 years. Bottle # D6028. Totally different nose than the previous 3. Very pleasant aroma of oak and the sweetness of warmed caramel. Unlike the others or most ryes, the spiciness is not as apparent. It is replaced with wonderful wood/oak flavors and a it o’ sweetness with a smooth finish.

Sazerac 18yo Rye 90 proof – lighter aroma than the van winkle. Bob got honey and citrus in the nose as do I with floral accents as well almost like walking thru a flower garden. Also in the taste we both get that very light citrus and floral taste with not a bit of burn and ultra ‘silky’smooth from start to finish.

Classic Cask 21yo(!) 90 proof – Buttery aroma with a very very pleasing taste of sweet and spicy blended most perfectly. This one really coats the mouth and tongue completely. It is very full bodied and surprisingly not overaged in either of our opinions. We both agree that the newer 22yo may even impart better characteristics and think that it could possibly stand being bottled up to 25yo! No burn at the end at all, just beautiful flavor!

In a summary, and we both agreed on this, here’s in order our favorites (from least to most): Beam Rye, Old Overholt, Turkey Rye, Van Winkle and a draw between the Sazerac and Classic Cask. Although Van Winkle is coming out in the middle it is a great rye. Also, for those on a budget, the Turkey is a wonderful alternative and deserves an honorable mention. Both of us personally would never really give the JB rye another go on a repeat purchase.

08-30-2004, 12:11
I purchased a bottle of the Classic Cask Rye. It was distilled in 1981, bottled in 2004, aged 22 years. I'm bringing this bottle to the Gazebo to open.

08-30-2004, 14:18
How come there is so little of the Sazerac and (apparently) Van Winkles left? Couldn't finish the bottle, guys? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

08-30-2004, 14:22
Trust me, if I didn't have to get up for work less than 8 hours after we were doing this tasting I may have! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif Actually th Sazerac and VWFRR were bottles that the both of us have had open for some time now. Oh and the pic was taken before we drank any, all the bottles a quite a bit lower now than they are in the pics. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gifIt was just yesterday that we finally got around to doing what we have spoken about doing for quite some time now. I hope next year they go up yet another year and do a 23yo rye from Classic Cask. We both agreed that that is one that seems like it would have only gotten better with age... To a point of course!

08-30-2004, 18:09
This was a great experience, trying such a wide range of ryes. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif The first rye I bought was the JB rye, and initially I thought that it was very good. I bought Old Overholt then Wild Turkey, and thought they were good as well, especially the WT. But then, along came VW Rye, and I thought the hell with those other ones, this is super. I still think very highly of this rye. Sazerac is another great rye, and it edges out the VW as slightly better. Trying the 2 together has enabled me to taste the differences. For those of you that enjoy ryes, I have to say the Classic Cask was quite a suprise. Mark & I thought that it would be influenced to much by the wood, and that would detract from our enjoyment of it. But, we were wrong. That's a damn good rye, and as Mark noted, I would try it at an even older age. I think it could easily handle a few more years in the barrel.

The one rye that I wish we had available to try during this tasting would have been Michter's 10 Year Old Rye. I've only had this once, but I recall it to be a very good rye as well. So, in some way, the rye shootout is not yet complete! We will have to do it again, minus the JB and Old Overholt, but add on the Michters and the current 22 year old Classic Cask. More fun to look forward to! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif


08-30-2004, 18:16
And perhaps throw in a bottle of the 12yo Old Rip Van Winkle Old Time Rye for good measure Bob! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif

08-30-2004, 18:39
Wow! Thanks for the awesome shootout/notes! In the rye 'spectrum' I've always thought there was a huge taste gap right in between the WT Rye and the Van Winkle (ie. that's where you make a huge jump from mediocre to outstanding).

You've convinced me to seek out the Classic Cask! Thanks again to the NY tasting crew!

08-30-2004, 20:59
Interesting to note not a single reference from either you or Mark to Old Potrero. I'm aware Maytag is a maverick and something of a dreamer -- but is his whiskey a contender, or just expensive?

08-31-2004, 05:23
Yes indeed. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Thanks for reminding me. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif

08-31-2004, 05:25

I've had Old Potero on 2 occasions at NYC WhiskyFest. I wouldn't buy that stuff if it was $20. But, it sells for at least $80! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif Go figure. I don't like the taste of it at all, so price is really not the issue. I just don't like it! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/puke.gif


08-31-2004, 06:21
Bob and Mark.......I am bringing each of you guys a bottle of the 12yo Old Time Rye to the Fest, so you'll have to give us an updated tasting in September. Also, add the Black Maple Hills 18yo rye to the mix. I took this on a trip to Canada and shared with my whiskey drinking friends up there and it was a hit. I can't get it here in Texas, my brother brought me a bottle from LA. I'll bet you might find some similarities to the Classic Cask. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif


09-01-2004, 19:42
OK. I'm demanding a recount for Labor Day. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif I'm not sure if I trust your judgments so we better reinact a full tasting.

09-01-2004, 19:53
You'll get no arguments from me LeNell! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

12-02-2004, 18:54
I must have missed this post the first time round...

Guys, thanks for a fantastic run down on the different Ryes - It was very interesting & informative http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

I'm really enjoying Rye lately. It will never replace my liking of Bourbon, but provides an excellent alternative pour without straying to far from the bourbon family (so to speak)

They've also taken on special meaning lately because I get to drink them with my Dad.
Before discovering Rye, he'd pour his Jonnie Walker or Dimple, and I'd pour my bourbon. Occasionally he'd enjoy trying one of my Bourbons, but it was never really his thing. I'd share the occasional Scotch, but, frankly, I just don't like the taste.
Fortunately someone gave me a bottle of Beam Rye to try and I poured him some neat one night. We both enjoyed it immensely and now continue to drink it when we get together for family gatherings. I've recently introduced him to the Van Winkle 13yo Rye that I picked up in the UK and it has really cemented it as 'our' drink to share. The one regret is that when we finish the ORVW bottle, it won't be easy to get another one http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif (Beam is the only Rye sold in Australia.) Fortunately, there's an unopened bottle of Sazerac on the bar from a recent import order to look forward to http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif
Usually in the summer evenings at my folks place, Dad & I find it relaxing to sit on the back veranda watching the lights of the Gold Coast skyline in the distance whilst we share a Rye or two. Sometimes we talk, others times we just sit and enjoy a drink in silence...

12-02-2004, 19:31
Sounds like you have a wonderful relationship with your father. I've tried the Beam rye, and didn't care for it. Unfortunately, it's all that's available in my state. I consider myself very lucky because I have scored a bottle of Sazerac from my neighboring state of New Hampshire. I look forward to trying true rye whiskey!

Oh, and thanks for bumping this post, as I missed it too, and it is quite informative.

08-22-2005, 19:47
Now that's a very nice tasting event. I have one such planned too with these ryes:

Old Overholt
Wild Turkey
Old Potrero (the 90 proof)
van Winkle 13 yrs
Rittenhouse (80 proof)

The sad thing (or good, whichever way you choose to look at it!) is that I am the only one attending the tasting. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

BTW, reassuring to know there are others who do not like JB Rye. It has an awful nose of moulded cauliflower and the taste of... of something not from this planet.

08-23-2005, 21:04
Well, so far, the only one I've had is the Rittenhouse BIB (100 proof). That, and I suppose you could count some Canadian whiskies (Forty Creek and Wiser's) as ryes as well - I've noticed a strong resemblance between them and the Rittenhouse, but each of the three has its own subtle differences.

I'm itching to get my grubby little paws on some Sazerac, though. Fortunately, this year's batch should be showing up in my neighborhood in the near future. Some Van Winkle rye would be nice to find, as well - I certainly like the Van Winkle bourbons!

08-24-2005, 06:09

Which Michter's will you be comparing with the others? The US*1 or the 10 year old?

BTW, we had a hell of a lot of fun comparing those 6. I'd actually like to do another comparison, this time adding Rittenhouse BIB and dropping the Old Overholt and Beam Ryes.


08-24-2005, 10:29
The only two bottles of Michter's I have are the ones below. Before buying them in NY I had never even heard of it. This version, how old is it?


08-24-2005, 19:52
I believe these are around 4 years old. We must do another NY rye shootout, including the BMH 18 and the new Classic Cask 21.

08-25-2005, 06:27
Yeah LeNell, but you need to get a day off to do so!! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/stickpoke.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif

08-25-2005, 15:56
tlsmothers, have you tried both versions of this rye? I want to ask for tasting notes if so, but I don't wanna get any ideas in my head before I have tasted it myself if you know what I mean http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif

In any case, I ordered two of the ryes I will sample today. But I am not sure I will get them. Damn, I had them both (Rittenhouse & WT) not long ago, but my craving for rye whiskey is sometimes... unhealthy. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif


08-25-2005, 19:01

Only the whiskey pictured to the left is rye whiskey. Your other bottle contains a very tasty, maple syrup tasting, unblended whiskey which most likely was aged in previously used barrels.

08-25-2005, 19:36
I have not yet opened the new Classic 21. The 22 was amazing and a big surprise for the aging on it.

08-25-2005, 19:38
Day off!? Hey, let's get together at the store to solve that problem! I can put out the lawn chairs out front, have some of my restaurant folks bring over some smoked meat, and we can chill!

09-07-2005, 05:22
When, when, when?!?!?! I need to take another ride out there and this time leave the bikes behind!

09-11-2005, 16:46
Well, I'm working on a date to do a big rye tasting, but in the meantime, we're doing the best we can to enjoy some whiskey since we're missing all you good folks going to the Festival this year. Sunday, September 18th we're gonna set up the grill, put out some lawn chairs, and set out a bunch of whiskey in the store, including some rye like Sazerac, Michter's, VW, and McCormick. I ain't Jewish, but many of you can get the humor in this Sunday's toast, which will be, "Next year in Bardstown."