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  1. #1
    Disciple
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    6 months difference

    I'm sitting here drinking current versions of Pikesville and Stephen Foster. The Pikesville is labeled 3 years old, and the Stephen Foster says, "Fully Matured for Thirty Months." Both are 80 proof, and assuming both are made at HH's Bernheim plant, I find the differences fascinating.

    The nose on the Foster has a whiff of pickle brine, and the middle falls really flat.

    Pikesville's nose has lift and lets you know the Rye is coming. Great middle and finish for the price. Makes you want more.

    The question is, can 6 months of age make such a difference? Apparently, at least for my taste buds. Both are HH, so I'm sure the mashbill is the same.

    Interestingly enough, the Pikesville was $12.99, while the younger Foster was $14.99.

    Anyone else drinking these 2 Ryes?

    As far as what Ryes I drink, I currently have open: 2008 Handy, 2009 Sac 18, Baby Saz, VWFRR, Vintage 21, Hirsch 22, BMH 23yr, WT101, RR6yr, RittBIB, and Fleischmanns. Rye has become an obsession and I wanted to try some bottom shelf. (Love the old Medley stuff, and WT101 Rye is my daily. Also, while I appreciate, and support, the criticism of Handy's age/price, I simply love the decadence of it's flavor, while I hate Baby Saz's medicinal finish. And yes, I have cut the Handy while tasting Jr. side-by-side. I still go with Handy. Sorry Virus.)

    Can anyone chime in on these 2? The Rye forum always seems slow.

  2. #2
    Virtuoso
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    Re: 6 months difference

    I think the HH ryes of that age are still among those that were made at Brown Forman.

    I'm a big fan of the Pikesville (review below) and think it is a huge deal for the price with a good, straightforward rye taste. I've never had the Foster so can't speak to it. I don't think I've even seen it on the shelf out her in Cali.

    http://recenteats.blogspot.com/2009/...ooze-take.html

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: 6 months difference

    The difference is more a function of the barrel selection profile than it is of the raw age, although six months makes a much bigger difference in a young whiskey than it does in an old one. It's much the same with people.

  4. #4
    Taster
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    Nov 2006
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    Boston area
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    Re: 6 months difference

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    The difference is more a function of the barrel selection profile than it is of the raw age, although six months makes a much bigger difference in a young whiskey than it does in an old one. It's much the same with people.
    Well, maybe in taste, but not so much in color. That's kind of predetermined. Of course, you can always add coloring, but with us people, it does wear off and requires constant application when we want that weird unnatural depth of color.

  5. #5
    Virtuoso
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    Re: 6 months difference

    After tasting all the inexpensive Rye's I could find I decided I liked the Pikesville the best by a mile. I consider it a huge bargain and I think it makes a damn good Manhattan. It isn't sold anywhere near where I live - I must rely on the kindness of strangers...

    Handy, Papa Saz, Vintage 21 and 23, VanWinkle, High West 16 and 21, Black Maple Hill 23, Old Portrero Hotelings..... Oh yeah.

  6. #6
    Virtuoso
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    Re: 6 months difference

    Quote Originally Posted by DanG View Post
    Well, maybe in taste, but not so much in color. That's kind of predetermined. Of course, you can always add coloring, but with us people, it does wear off and requires constant application when we want that weird unnatural depth of color.
    FYI, these are straight US whiskies, so no color can be added.

  7. #7
    Taster
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    Re: 6 months difference

    I'm sorry sku, I find that incredibly racist. Either that or I did a very bad job delivering a very weak joke. Likely the latter. I apologize.

  8. #8
    Connoisseur
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    Apr 2009
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    Western NY
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    Re: 6 months difference

    Quote Originally Posted by DanG View Post
    I'm sorry sku, I find that incredibly racist.
    ???

    I took your post to be a suntan reference and sku's to be stating a
    fact re: adding coloring to whiskey. If there was anything racist on
    either part, it was over my head.
    John Q.
    Tennessee Squire
    Quote Originally Posted by ggilbertva
    It won't be any cheaper than it is today.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan
    Someone will pay it. Someone always pays it.

  9. #9
    Virtuoso
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    Re: 6 months difference

    Quote Originally Posted by DanG View Post
    I'm sorry sku, I find that incredibly racist. Either that or I did a very bad job delivering a very weak joke. Likely the latter. I apologize.
    Oh, I totally missed the joke. Being overly literal as usual.

  10. #10
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: 6 months difference

    Weak jokes aside, this coloring issue has gotten confusing, as noted elsewhere, since the U.S. does not allow U.S.-made straight whiskey to have coloring added, but the labels of some U.S.-made straight whiskey sold in Europe indicate that coloring has been added. The rules say the products sold in Europe are supposed to be the same as the products sold in the U.S., so coloring should not be added. This is either a case of lax enforcement or some kind of peculiar interpretation that carves out an exception for coloring. Perhaps they regard coloring as more akin to packaging and labeling than to manufacturing.

    It's true that looking at the color of a scotch or Irish whiskey tells you nothing since coloring can be and probably has been added, whereas with American whiskey the color can be 'read' as indicative of the aging.

    However even with natural coloring, i.e., color that comes exclusively from wood, since most of the color comes over early a darker color doesn't really indicate a significantly older whiskey. I was drinking some one-year-old micro-distillery bourbon last night that is darker than most 12-year-olds.

 

 

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