View Full Version : Preference for Rye-heavy bourbons:
Having only tried the Jim Beam Rye and being unimpressed, I was curious about the rye-prominent bourbons available. The only two that I can ascertain being available around here are Bulliet and Basil Hayden's I've already made my way through a bottle of BH, and liked the flavour, but not the intensity of the bourbon. How does it compare to the Bulleit overall? Is the Eagle Rare 101 another one heavy in the rye?
I'd try the Bulleit if you get a chance. It is rye-heavy but in a rather unique way. Basel Hayden isn't bad but to me tastes dull next to Bulleit. Bulleit offers a "peppermint" palate, which is a characteristic of some rye or rye-type whiskey. The current crop of 4 year old ryes (Beam's, Overholt, Wild Turkey's) tend to have a different taste, some people call it earthy or "muddy", I like it but it is an acquired taste. Whereas Bulleit is made with much more style, offering the taste of rye at its best. (But Beam rye and Overholt, if they fail to please, can enliven that ported bourbon, just add a dash and see how much it picks it up). Bulleit is one of the best whiskeys in the world today and in my view offers a taste of tradition: Mike Veach is quoted in Chuck's book as saying pre-Prohibition whiskey had a taste of "wintergreen". When I first tasted Bulleit (only recently for the first time) I thought, this is that taste they are talking about.
You may not be able to get it, but if you can, try the OGD 114-proof. This is the one I was thinking about with my vote for BH/OGD. It is in my personal Top 5. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif
Also, as a everyday pour, OGD 86-proof is one of my favorites, especially considering its low price. When on sale, I can get it for about $11. My other everyday pours are Elijah Craig 12-yr (about $17) and WT 101 (about $20).
I agree fully. My current Grandad 114 seems better than ever I recall this brand. It has a concentrated quality which focuses the spice element but keeps it in balance with the wood and alcohol. Recently I bought this bottle after seeing it a few days earlier on the shelf of the Vintages section at one of our smaller liquor control board stores. I thought, well, I already have the Tito vodka, so I'll leave the Grandad for another day. When I went back a week later (having forgotten about the Grandad in the interim), lo I see the very bottle I handled askew on the shelf below its proper place where I left it thinking the staff would replace it. No one had tidied up the shelves (not that part anyway) for a week! Fortunately this brought the errant bottle to my attention and I bought it, possibly a good thing because it seems to have been delisted here and I think I got the last one. (It will come back, Grandad 114 has appeared off and on over the last few years).
I am not a big fan of Old Grand Dad,but the 114 is another story. It has a thick mouth feel, and is packed with flavors with a wonderful finish. this is one great whiskey . It is a great after meal drink
Eagle Rare would not be considered a "high rye" bourbon. Bulleit and BH/OGD are pretty much it. I'm very fond of the OGD BIB. Also, don't give up on straight ryes just because Beam didn't work for you. I recommend the Rittenhouse Rye BIB, which is a Heaven Hill product.
I haven't tried the Bulliet, but ER beats the tar out of old granddad (including 114) and Basil Hayden's. However: If you really like rye, why not just visit the dark side and pick up a bottle of WT Rye? (IMHO, the best Rye for under $20)
Old Overholt is a fair bit better than the JB Rye, too, but it is so similar in price to the WT that if you can get the Turkey, get it instead. I've heard wonderful things about Sazerac's Ryes, but they are all too rich for my blood.
The problem is that there are very few Rye's availalable where I am. Bulliet and BH are the only Rye-Heavy bourbons actually in stock at liquor stores, and the only Rye that I;ve found available is the Jim Beam Rye. Going by the Beam, I'm not a particular fan of the pure rye expression, but the BH was nice, if significantly weak.
I haven't tried Bulleit yet, that's somewhere down the end of a long list of 'must-trys.'
I would choose Bulliet over the others mentioned. I have sampled every premium bottling available over the past 30+ years and the new Bulliet expression compares favorably with those. It has an old fashioned flavor profile that is unique, memorable, and once sampled, unlikely to be confused with any other brand.
The problem is that there are very few Rye's availalable where I am. Bulliet and BH are the only Rye-Heavy bourbons actually in stock at liquor stores, and the only Rye that I;ve found available is the Jim Beam Rye. Going by the Beam, I'm not a particular fan of the pure rye expression, but the BH was nice, if significantly weak
JB Rye is pretty lackluster, even moreso than the green-label charcoal filtered JB. JB black has more punch and complexity than their rye, imho. In short: JB Rye doesn't taste like real Rye!
How about FRSB? It is fairly spicy and if I remember correctly it has a good bit of rye int he mashbill. For the price I think you will find Bulleit exceptionally good. I always wait until the drugstores in my area have it on special and stock up.
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