View Full Version : VW Family Reserve

09-29-2000, 20:09
At the moment in front of me are four glasses. Each started with only whiskey in it. After I'd sniffed each, then sampled each neat, I placed some ice into each to see how the product changed. I do this since I always taste neat but drink on the rocks. The four products are VanWinkle Family Reserve Rye (which I managed to acquire about 60 miles from my home yesterday at John's Liquors; Julian, Big Red does not now carry it), Old Overholt Rye, Old Grand Dad 86 (rye based bourbon) and Old Rip VanWinkle 10-yr-old (wheat based bourbon).

The two Van Winkle products are closest in age (12 & 10 respectively) while the two other products should be reasonably close with no age declared. The color of the VW Family Reserve Rye was a nice deep amber. The Old Rip had the next deepest color. OO and OGD were a rather similar golden. I'm not going to do full tasting notes on the four. I simply want to make a comment or two. The Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye has a mash bill that nearly mirrors bourbon but reverses the rye and the corn. When people tell me they get a rye kick I can see it in this fine product. The Old Rip with wheat has a very different flavor from the other three. I refuse to say one is absolutely better between the VW FR Rye and the Old Rip. I enjoy the variety. I'm glad to have both in my collection. In addition, when I want a bourbon with a rye mashbill I enjoy the OGD.

Among these four products, the Old Overholt takes a back seat for me. Yet, we must consider the price difference. The VW Family Reserve needs to be three times as good as the Old Overholt for the price. I believe it is. With ice the Old Overholt gets a bit thin more rapidly.

I believe through this tasting I've further enhanced my ability to detect a wheat product from a rye product. In addition, it has helped me to be confident about my choice of the VW Family Reserve as the superior rye. To be fair, I need to include Wild Turkey Rye in some future tasting. For those of you who don't do side-by-side tastings I'd encourage you. Just about 3/4 ounce of each is enough to start. Where you go from there is up to you.

If I may show my age for just a moment this caused me to reflect on the fact that the first tastings I ever did were part of my job responsibility and were of food products nearly 25 years ago. This tasting tonight was more fun.


09-30-2000, 20:15

The next time you are stacking Rye's around the table, include the 100 proof offering of Old Grand Dad. I find that it has a greater 'rye bite' than most rye whiskies, a very curious anomaly.

Mark Mason, Lost in Arkansas
Wishing you pleasant Rye Dreams

10-01-2000, 09:31
Mark, thought of using Old Grand Dad (BIB) 100 but decided to use 86 because 1) it is closer in proof to the Old Rip Van Winkle (OGD 86 vs. Old Rip 90) and 2) the OGD I had on hand was the 86.


01-29-2001, 19:02
Having just returned from a quick trip to KY. I managed to bring back some Rye with me. Namely the 12 & 13 yr Van Winkle and 18yr Sazerac. I am fairly new to Bourbon and Rye. I have enjoyed a drink for the past 20+ years but my world was fairly limited to Jack Daniels & Jim Beam and what someone may have had on hand or what the well brand might have been at a local Billards parlor. Well the past couple of months I have become acquainted with many of the better Bourbons on the market. Tonight I tried the 13yr Van Winkle FR Rye. WoW. What a wonderfull drink. I can't sit here and write all about various flavors. smells tastes etc. But I can tell you I sure as heck like the drink. Can't wait to try there 12yr and the 18yr Sazerac. As the song says. Them good old boys were drinking whiskey and RYE saying this will be the day I go out and buy some more. Hey. Creggor

01-31-2001, 17:12
welcome aboard. I could have pretty well written the same thing about my bourbon experience one year ago except perhaps for a taste of Maker's, Baker's and Bookers. As I'm sure you've discovered once you get hooked Jim Beam white label is relegated to serving friends, only -- and then only your not-so-good friends at that. Greg