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  1. #1

    Quintessential Inexpensive Rye

    As I mentioned in my intro, I'm not a real vet of bourbon, and a total rye virgin as it were. I know I like bourbon, and will taste many over my remaining days. Do I like Rye? I dunno.

    My question is, what would you consider the quintessential under $30 rye. What I mean by this is; don't necessarily list your favorite. I can read that in reviews. Which rye do you taste and say, "if a person tries and likes this, he's hooked for life on rye whiskey, and if he doesn't like it, he really doesn't like rye." For example in single malt scotch, I would tell someone to try Highland Park 12YO. If you find something in there you like, you're in. If you don't, single malt scotch isn't really for you.

    If no such thing exists, forgive me for my lunacy. If it does I look forward to your assistance.

  2. #2
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    Re: Quintessential Inexpensive Rye

    I'd say Sazerac (Saz Jr or Baby Saz around these parts) if you can find it. It isn't my favorite but it is pretty representative of the style. It would be a good starting point, anyway. Otherwise Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond (again, if you can find it). It's been mentioned on other threads but there seem to be some supply hiccups in the young rye category.

    I'm sure some would suggest Wild Turkey Rye, and I think you should definitely try it at some point, but it seems to be kind of polarizing.
    Last edited by Brisko; 12-09-2011 at 07:42.

  3. #3
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    Re: Quintessential Inexpensive Rye

    Sazerac would be the quintessential... but Rittenhouse is my favorite

  4. #4
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    Re: Quintessential Inexpensive Rye

    Agreed - Sazerac Rye (6yr or "baby saz") would be quintessential - even down to the bottle design.

    Wild Turkey 101 or Rittenhouse BIB are stellar examples as well. But considerably bolder, less mellow, and more fire & spice than Saz, but Saz has that solid "Rye flavor" - it'll remind you more of rye bread than the others.

    That said, there are some 95%-100% Rye offerings out there (the above are probably "barely legal" - and only around 51%-60% Rye).

    These are 95% Rye whiskeys and can usually be found under $30 (maybe not Templeton - $35 is more likely) - all made by LDI, but may not be to your liking (some folks just don't like the minty/mouthwash aspects of LDI ryes...):

    Bulleit Rye
    Redemption Rye
    Templeton Rye

    Additionally, there's Jefferson's Rye is 100% Rye and around $30 or so...(there's other offerings of this same 10 yr Canadian Rye, but they are much more expensive). This is very tasty and a good value for a 10 yr., but it is Canadian Rye, if that matters to you...

    Then there's Old Potrero - with a few different expressions that you could look into if you become a Rye freak (like me!).

    The above, however, aren't as iconic as the Saz, WT & Ritt to most modern Rye drinkers.

    HOWEVER - if you want one of the most amazing "rye experiences" a person can have, drop the $65 for a bottle of Thomas H. Handy (barrel strength/uncut) from the Antique Collection - it's usually more readily available than the other BTAC offerings and worth *every.single.penny*

  5. #5
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    Re: Quintessential Inexpensive Rye

    For what you seek, it must come down to Turkey Rye 101 and Baby Saz. RittBIB, while I like it, doesn't have enough "Ryeness" to truly give you what you're looking for, IMHO.

    And I would also recommend that you try BOTH Turkey and Baby Saz, as many people on here disagree about these two Ryes. (Personally, I think the Baby Saz is too medicinal, while Turkey is where it's at. There are some great palates on this board, however, who would fight me over those words. ) Both, however, do give you the quintessential Rye experience.

    And don't go for the Russell's Reserve Rye, as it is too neutered to properly show that which is RYE.

  6. #6
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    Re: Quintessential Inexpensive Rye

    Quote Originally Posted by White Dog View Post
    And don't go for the Russell's Reserve Rye, as it is too neutered to properly show that which is RYE.
    Good call to note this. While I personally really enjoy the RRR, I agree with you - it is its own breed of Rye.

    Very soft, piney/wintergreen flavor that's quite different from other Rye. It's good - but it's far from "quintessential," - you can find it in the low-to-mid $20's in many places, but it's not a great "beginner" option for learning what is - and isn't - normal for Rye.

  7. #7
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    Re: Quintessential Inexpensive Rye

    To me, WT 101 is the quintessential (inexpensive) rye. It has all the herbal spiciness that I associate with a straight rye without going overboard into the near-minty qualities of the high-rye ryes (like Bulleit). However, the Turkey is powerful, knock-you-in-the-throat stuff. It's not as easy-drinking as Ritt BIB (which has definite bourbon-like flavors), but I'd tell anyone that if you like WT Rye, you'll like ryes in general.

  8. #8
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    Re: Quintessential Inexpensive Rye

    Quote Originally Posted by Zanaspus View Post
    For example in single malt scotch, I would tell someone to try Highland Park 12YO. If you find something in there you like, you're in. If you don't, single malt scotch isn't really for you.
    I think all the replies here are helpful, but the problem with your example is that while there are hundreds of Single Malt Scotches, there are so few straight ryes. Timd basically named just about every rye you can buy on the market today.

    I think many if us here wish there were larger range of ryes that exhibited a variety of "rye-ness" so that we'd be able to say, "this or that is an exemplar." But that's hard to do when there are so few.
    There are two ways of getting home; and one of them is to stay there. - GK Chesterton

  9. #9
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    Re: Quintessential Inexpensive Rye

    My two cents...

    While the above mentioned are all very good, I'd toss out Bulleit and Jeff as being on the far edge of the rye spectrum. More so the Jeff than Bulleit.

    Turkey, Baby Saz, and Ritt BIB are also very good example of this class. Saz more so than Turkey in my taste. And who doesn't love the Ritt.

    But the one that I would recommend hands down, would be the Willett 4yr rye.

    Full body, full flavor, near barrel proof great pour that drinks absolutely great neat, brought down with water, or in a nice cocktail.

    While I hoard Saz and Ritt because of scarcity, given a choice, I'd think I'd take the Willett any day.

    B
    "Life is life and fun is fun, but it's all so quiet when the goldfish die."

  10. #10
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    Can't agree more about the Witt Rye. Brent and I had a small. Conversation about this earlier this week on PM. It is a little more than the WT, Saz and Ritt but well worth the extra $10. Unlike myself it is much more mature than the age would show.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

 

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