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Henry
01-12-2001, 22:43
As a bourbon lover but rye virgin, I am tempted by the new Sazerac 18. Is it as good as everyone says? Of course, I could start with Old Overholt to see if rye does it for me, but am tempted to go for something really special right off the bat. How good is Sazerac?

**DONOTDELETE**
01-13-2001, 21:01
Hi Henry! Whereya been? We missed you!

You said,"...I am tempted by the new Sazerac 18. Is it as good as everyone says?"

Yes.

"...Of course, I could start with Old Overholt to see if rye does it for me, but am tempted to go for something really special right off the bat."

Old Overholt *is* something special; don't let the low price fool you. It's flavor profile pretty much defines one end of the rye spectrum. If you like it, Lot No. 40 (from Canada, but worthy of any collection) is even more so. I recommend it highly. Sazerac is at the other end of the rye spectrum, and a really outstanding example of that style. If you like that better, Old Rip Van Winkle 12-year-old Rye goes even further in that direction. The others fall in between these two and there's quite a bit of variety.

=John=
http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

Henry
01-14-2001, 11:25
Thanks John. And how would you describe the two ends of the rye flavor spectrum?

**DONOTDELETE**
01-14-2001, 11:57
Poorly. That's what Linn's here for. :-))

Rye grain has a sharp flavor, which you can taste in rye bread and in bourbons like Old Grand Dad with lots of rye in the mashbill. In bourbon, that "bite" offsets the sweetness of the corn and highlights the carmel and vanilla flavors extracted from the oak barrels. Many bourbon afficianados practically rate the whole bourbon on the way the rye comes on. In straight rye whiskey, of course, that flavor is more pronounced. Those ryes on the Sazerac/VanWinkle12 end emphasize the rye "bite" at the surface, with the depth and complexity of the full flavor making them the fine examples that they are. At the Overholt/Lot40 end, the rye flavor is there, but there is both a sweetness and a "creaminess" that is very different. So different, in fact, that if you had only two bottles of rye -- OldRipVanWinkle 12-year-old and Lot No. 40 -- it would be hard to believe they were considered the same kind of liquor.

=John=
http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

**DONOTDELETE**
01-14-2001, 16:34
Don't sell yourself short there Golden Dudester you did just fine! I don't have much experiance with straight rye whiskey, but of thoes few that I have tried I like Old Overholt right well. I've just *got* to get up your way and impose upon you to make use of your lushly appointed whiskey reaserch facility!

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

RyanStotz
01-15-2001, 15:51
> Is it as good as everyone says?

Better. This is just one drunk kid's opinion, but it's not only the best American whiskey I've ever tasted, but it's at least as good if not better than any whisk(e)y I've ever tasted, period, with only 1974 Longrow possibly matching it. Considering I've had around 1,500 (and only one of those was Heaven Hill Ultra Deluxe), that's saying something. The complexity is so expansive; there are a lot of flavors in there, but unlike a lot of other, tighter whiskeys (of which this should be one at 18 years old), those flavors are very distinct and easy to pick out on the nose, on the palate and in the finish. Go ahead and get one. If you don't like it, I will personally refund your money.

Stotz

**DONOTDELETE**
01-15-2001, 22:32
OK Ryan Now I want one too!

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

Henry
01-21-2001, 16:29
Thanks for talking me into buying a bottle, Ryan. What a testimonial! I'm still becoming acquainted with it, but this is clearly a superior whiskey. While I don't know if I'll become a rye convert (I miss the bourbon sweetness) the Sazerac is certainly a delicious change of pace.

RyanStotz
01-23-2001, 16:30
Henry:

"Thanks for talking me into buying a bottle, Ryan. What a testimonial!"

Don't thank me, thank the Sazerac folks. They're responsible for provoking that testimonial from me.

"I'm still becoming acquainted with it, but this is clearly a superior whiskey."

There's a lot in there with which to acquaint oneself. About halfway through my first bottle right now and it's still giving up new traces of flavor. You really can tell that a lot of care (not to mention some good luck) went into the quality of the whiskey rather than just the packaging (which obviously required some work itself).

"While I don't know if I'll become a rye convert (I miss the bourbon sweetness) the Sazerac is certainly a delicious change of pace."

I understand what you mean. Most ryes (and I'll include Old Grand-Dad BIB here since it's as much a rye as most ryes) are still sweet, but it's more a suggestion or essence of sweetness rather than the pleasant corn assault of bourbon. Often times the sweetness comes on in the finish and comes on big. Both (all, if you want to include the Hirsch) the Van Winkle ryes do this. As someone who came to bourbon through Old Charter Proprietors Reserve and Wild Turkey Rare Breed, I too tended toward the sweetness of bourbon, but once I "got" rye, boy did I "get" it. I think you'll find it a pleasant pursuit.

Stotz

rwilps
01-23-2001, 18:58
Ryan,

That's exactly right - it's the dry, dark-chocolate quality that keeps bringing me back to rye. You know, that allows the whiskeys you mentioned to be better company for food or a fine smoke than many of the near-cloying bourbons on the market. Have you ever heard of an old PA rye called Sam Thompson - it would narrow your eyes, but in a smooth way...

Ralph Wilps

RyanStotz
01-24-2001, 15:39
Ralph:

"Have you ever heard of an old PA rye called Sam Thompson"

I have, and was even excited to find a place that sold it, until I found out that I'd found Old Thompson, a crappy American blend.

Stotz

cowdery
01-24-2001, 15:41
Isn't "crappy American blend" redundant?

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)

RyanStotz
01-24-2001, 16:34
> Isn't "crappy American blend" redundant?

Sadly, yes. Why the Scots have figured out how to blend straight whisky with neutral grain spirits to make some phenomenal blended whisky and us 'merkins haven't is beyond me. Of course they've had a little head start, but not that much.

Stotz

**DONOTDELETE**
01-24-2001, 18:33
Sorry to drift a little off-topic here, but this a question that I've been curious about lately. Are there NO good American blends? None? Zero? Zip? Zilch?

Everytime I walk into the nearest liquor store I see at least a half dozen different American blended brands, all buried in the back somewhere. Surely SOMEONE's drinking them.

Just wondering,

doug

RyanStotz
01-25-2001, 15:58
Doug:

"Are there NO good American blends? None? Zero? Zip? Zilch?"

If you're willing to accept a loose definition of American, I can handle Seagram Seven Crown, which is a blend of American and (I think) some Canadian spirits, but is classified by Seagram as American. I don't know about "good," but perfectly acceptable in my book.

Stotz

MashBill
01-25-2001, 18:13
Blends! We don't need no stinkin' blends!


Bill
http://home.kc.rr.com/mashbill/

cowdery
01-26-2001, 14:44
The blended whiskeys of Canada and Scotland are blends of several straight aged whiskeys. Canadians can add some flavoring spirits, but I don't know the exact regulations.

American blends are completely different. They are a throwback to the old days of "rectified whiskeys," concoctions containing mostly neutral spirits and flavorings and little or no mature whiskey. Here is the legal definition:

"Blended whisky" (whisky--a blend) is a mixture which contains straight whisky or a blend of straight whiskies at not less than 20 percent on a proof gallon basis, excluding alcohol derived from added harmless coloring, flavoring or blending materials, and, separately, or in combination, whisky or neutral spirits.

An American blend is 20 percent whiskey, 80 percent whiskey helper. It is a whiskey meatloaf. It's meat-like, it contains meat, but it's no filet mignon. I haven't done a serious tasting of them, an odious assignment.

If you are someplace where only blended whiskey is available, have a beer. If you must drink the stuff, at least have a manhattan.

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)

cowdery
01-26-2001, 14:53
I don't think American blends merit any serious consideration. They taste however the boys in the lab want them to taste. I would be interested in a blend of American straight whiskeys, made the way Canadians and Scotches are, but there aren't any.

Of course, we could make them ourselves at home, e.g., the stateliness of Woodford Reserve balanced by the insouciance of Fighting Cock, finished with a little Sazerac Rye. I'm making myself thirsty.

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)

**DONOTDELETE**
01-28-2001, 00:58
I heard that Ancient Age makes a blend that is very good. I've been looking for it for a few months now and haven't been able to find it anywhere in town (Las Vegas). I know I could order it, but it seems silly to spend $10 to ship a $8 whiskey. Anyone seen or tried this?

John A. Dube

Ken Weber
01-29-2001, 09:58
You are speaking of Ancient Age Preferred. It is available only in a few markets around the country.

Ken

**DONOTDELETE**
02-03-2001, 01:03
Do you know which markets it is available in?

John A. Dube

Ken Weber
03-07-2001, 14:03
Sorry to have missed this inquiry. AA Perferred can be found in TN, LA, TX and possibly in neighboring states.

Ken

broray
03-14-2001, 04:25
I too am a virgin to the rye. Last Saturday two of my friends and I tried tasting Turkey and VanWinkle. Both were xcellant, but the turkey won out. I am on to tasting more. Any recommendations?

The Man from Missouri

MashBill
03-14-2001, 17:36
While not in the same league as those you tasted (in my opinion for all it's worth....), give Old Overholt and Jim Beam Rye a try. They are both good ryes, inexpensive, and pretty easy to find. You could do much worse.

You didn't mention which Van Winkle you tried. He bottles a 12 year old and a 13 year old. They are both excellent. You should also try Sazerac 18 year old, and Lot 40 (a Canadian pot stilled rye imported by McCormick).

Heaven Hill also bottles a couple of ryes, but I have not tried them.

Bill
http://home.kc.rr.com/mashbill/

broray
03-15-2001, 04:47
VanWinkle 13yr. I will try the others you mentioned. I have to float a loan to purchase the Sazerac and the Lot 40 though. On to tying new adventures.

The Man from Missouri

**DONOTDELETE**
05-04-2001, 09:46
<font color=yellow>Real_j_lipman muses:</font color=yellow>
<font color=orange>"So different, in fact, that if you had only two bottles of rye -- OldRipVanWinkle 12-year-old and Lot No. 40 -- it would be hard to believe they were considered the same kind of liquor."</font color=orange>

To paraphrase Mike Meyers from a favorite Saturday Night Live skit: " Here's Canada, here's Kentucky, they're bloody DIFFERENT." /wwwthreads/images/wink.gif

However, apart from your minor gaff, your point is well articulated and spot on. It still ceases to amaze me that Old Overholt is made with a 59% rye grain bill, yet is on the opposite end of the brittleness scale from its stablemate Jim Beam Rye.

Cheers,

Bushido

**DONOTDELETE**
05-04-2001, 21:00
To paraphrase the paraphrase: "Here's Lot No. 40, here's every single other Canadian whiskey, they're even MORE bloody different! http://www.straightbourbon.com/wwwthreads/images/smile.gif

Although currently produced by Jim Beam, and by National Distillers in Frankfort, Kentucky for years before that, Old Overholt is a type of rye that was produced in Pennsylvania's Monongahela River valley before and just after Prohibition. The style dates from the earliest days of whiskeymaking in North America, and it's historical significance is strong (it also tastes really good). The Revolutionary War (and the subsequent rebellion over the federal whiskey tax to pay off the debts of that war) sent a good number of those fine (and loyalist) whiskeymen north to Ontario. Lot No. 40 (supposedly named for immigrant Joshua Booth's homestead address near the Bay of Quinte) almost certainly represents a style of rye whisk(e)y that is no less unique in Canada than is Overholt in the U.S., and into which fit both of these, which seem very closely related to one another.

=John=
http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

**DONOTDELETE**
05-14-2001, 17:04
<font color=yellow> Real_j bastidized the following:</font color=yellow>
<font color=orange>"To paraphrase the paraphrase: "Here's Lot No. 40, here's every single other Canadian whiskey, they're even MORE bloody different!"</font color=orange>

Okay, *until* I can convince John Hall to bottle that sweet stuff he has squirreled away across from New York State, you are correct sir! Even the bona fide 100% rye grain Alberta Premium has nothing on the Lot No.40. The fact remains though that bourbons and straight ryes bare no earthly resemblence to Canadian Whisky (Rye). I guess if you wanted to compare something to the Lot No.40, the closest you could get would be the Old Potrero, but even that is a completely different species.

I certainly would not quarrel about the Old Overcoat, I absolutely adore the stuff at that price. Thank you for enlightening me to the close ties to another favorite of mine, the Hirsch 16yr (albeit a "bourbon"). It is sad to realize that the Lot No.40 has for years been relegated to the role of "flavoring" but OTOH is encouraging to see that our Northern neighbors have begun to appreciate the treasures that may lie dormant in their warehouses. If only Seagrams were so bold to release the Lawrenceburg Indiana 100% rye, it might even make you cocksure about American distilling again.

Cheers,
Bushido

**DONOTDELETE**
05-14-2001, 19:18
I think we're in 100% agreement here. I hold no sorrow for Lot No.40's years spent as a flavoring whiskey, only a strong appreciation of Corby's decision to release it on its own. Diageo certainly didn't carry on United Distillers' trend of releasing interesting bottlings when they were in the bourbon biz, but maybe the story with Seagram's will be different. I've heard really wonderfull things about the flavoring rye produced in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, and it's right up the road from me. Truth is, until Prohibition, much (most?) of the straight bourbon produced in Kentucky was used for flavoring blends. I imagine there are still some unbelievably great bourbons, ryes, and maybe even wheats and barleys out there that only the distillers will ever have tasted.

Thanks, Corby, for letting us try Lot No.40. I think Jimmy Russell's already done that (Wild Turkey 12-year-old). And I think Booker Noe did, too.

Hey, Ken Weber! Craig Beam! Bill Friel! We know you guys have some blow-away "flavoring whiskeys"; why not market them?

=John=
http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

Ken Weber
05-19-2001, 17:39
We certainly have several un-released bourbons and whiskies. We are constantly experimenting and trying new things. We are even going to distill two new whiskies based on input from a reader of Straightbourbon.com. Look for some new releases from Buffalo Trace within a few years.

Ken

**DONOTDELETE**
05-20-2001, 18:27
And that's how you win "Distillery of the Year" awards!

For those who are new here and don't already know this, Malt Advocate Magazine this year named Sazerac's Buffalo Trace distillery (of which Ken is brand manager) Distillery of the Year. That's not just among bourbonmakers; that's all whisk(e)y distilleries. There are a LOT more distilleries in Scotland than in Ireland, Canada, Japan, and the United States combined, and I believe this was the first time an American distillery was given this honor (although I believe they may have deserved it at least once before during the single-barrel era).

Innovation and experimentation are not unique to Buffalo Trace, but they certainly set a great example for the industry.
Psst-- Hey Ken, NOW can I get a taste of any of those secret formulas? :-)

=John=
http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey