Welcome to the Straightbourbon.com Forums.
Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1

    Straight rye taste-off [was:WBAYDN]

    Tonight was a straight rye taste-off, including Rittenhouse BIB 10yo, 12-year-old Old Rip Van Winkle Old Time Rye, Very Olde St. Nick 15yo rye, and 2004 Sazerac 18yo. (I did not include unopened 15yo Classic Cask or 13yo Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye I have on hand simply because I don’t have a space for another open bottle on my shelf at present. I will line them up with tonight’s favorites at a later date.)

    Color: Surprisingly, the Olde St. Nick 15yo was the lightest, exhibiting the color of the copper coating of a new zinc penny. Next up the scale was the Rittenhouse, then the Saz, and darkest was the 12yo Van Winkle (perhaps denoting it’s more than 12 years old, keeping in mind that the current ‘13yo’ Van Winkle Family Reserve was 19 when Julian tanked it).

    Nose: The Rittenhouse is very closed early, but blossoms in the glass to display florals and pepper grass overlaying a cotton-candy note; the Van Winkle smells like sweet apple-pie spices; the St. Nick demonstrates the mintiness expected from rye, with an underpinning of the grain itself; while the Saz could be a handful of rye-rich grain pulled directly from the feed bin.

    Palate: Simply put, compared to the others, the Saz is a disappointment. It is almost flavorless on entry, finally exhibiting the rye grain from the mid-palate back, but with almost no competing or complementary taste. The St. Nick is similar, but at least shows traces of menthol/mintiness around the edges; the Rittenhouse is the most complex, with a related combination of dark rum, molasses and caramel notes; the Van Winkle continues its apple-pie theme with the flavors of the buttery thick juices spooned out of the bottom of the pie tin, tinged with a hint of spicy wood.

    Finish: The Van Winkle had the longest finish – though long only by comparison – with dry wood balancing the earlier apple-pie sweetness. The Rittenhouse and Saz brought medium-long and –warm finishes, the first sign of life for the Sazerac. The St. Nick simply disappeared in a puff of rye grain.

    Overall: The Van Winkle Old Time Rye was my favorite of this foursome, with something of interest in each element, and a nice balancing progression from spicy sweetness to the dry finish. The Rittenhouse is also notable for its complex flavor package, but the older Olde St. Nick and, especially, the Sazerac were disappointments by comparison (which maybe explains why I’ve been using most of this Saz bottle in Manhattans). These results make me wonder if there isn’t some tension between straight rye and long barrel aging, as the older pair seems to wilt by comparison to the significantly younger ones.

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2007
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    NYC, Louisville, Shenzhen
    Posts
    1,594

    Re: What bourbon are you drinking now?

    Thanks for these very instructive and insightful tasting notes, Tim. The OT Rye is favored by many of us. Your commentary broadens our vocabulary with which to articulate the nuanced qualities of this and other fine whiskies. Thanks again!

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    8,981

    Re: Straight rye taste-off [was:WBAYDN]

    Excellent tasting, Tim. Rye whiskey is a close cousin to bourbon and yet stands on its own as a classic American whiskey, now (apparently) enjoying something of renaissance. I would suggest to people who would like to acquire a familiarity with rye but find the types Tim mentioned too full-bore to add some rye whiskey to a Canadian whiskey. Any Canadian will do, e.g. Canadian Mist, Schenley OFC or Royal Reserve by Corby. These whiskies already contain small amounts of true rye and other straight whiskeys so it is perfectly logical to add more, one is simply making a richer blend and reducing the effect of the high proof component. I added some Lot 40 (a now discontinued true (straight) Canadian rye) to Royal Reserve (an excellent Canadian blend) and the result was outstanding. I had read that Lot 40 is the flavoring whisky used by Corby for its brands (one of which is Royal Reserve) so the addition again made perfect sense and created in effect a "Royal Super Reserve", a whisky of more intensity but strictly (I believe) on the lines of the commercial version.

    I also advise to try Barrel Select and Three Grain, two Canadian whiskies made by Kittling Ridge Winery and Distillery of Grimsby, Ontario. These are a kind of bridge between the large company Canadian whiskies and straight American rye whiskey such as Tim was essaying. Yesterday I built a whisky of beautiful complexity using a blend of Barrel Select, Three Grain and some Old Grandad 114 (so good rye flavors there since Grandad is a high-rye recipe bourbon), softened with a little ORVW 15 year old bourbon (to add some pipe tobacco notes) and a sprinkling of bourbons (VOB, some Evan Williams 12 year old) to, well, get more corn in there. The result was a very flavourful but soft whiskey, rye-edged but with an underpinning of smoky bourbon flavor. This tasted like I think an old Potomac Maryland rye might have with its storied fruity-like taste. (By the way Dave's Pikesvilles from the 1960's were fabulous but I did not detect any fruity taste in them, nor in the current Pikesville made by Heaven Hill). I sipped it straight and then turned it into one of my best Manhattans ever.

    The sky's the limit with blending and now, rather than try to make "of a piece" blends, I just build them in the glass until they taste like I want them to. But a familiarity with whiskeys such as Tim mentioned is a sine qua non to this kind of exercise.

    Gary

  4. #4

    Re: What bourbon are you drinking now?

    ...Your commentary broadens our vocabulary with which to articulate the nuanced qualities of this and other fine whiskies...
    You've never used "thick juices spooned out of the bottom of the pie tin" to describe your whiskey, Cliff? I bet they use that around the distillery a lot!

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2007
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    NYC, Louisville, Shenzhen
    Posts
    1,594

    Re: What bourbon are you drinking now?

    "thick juices spooned out of the bottom of the pie tin"
    Sounds like the action in the kitchen after consuming Grandma's rhubarb pie!

  6. #6
    Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    495

    Re: Straight rye taste-off [was:WBAYDN]

    These results make me wonder if there isn’t some tension between straight rye and long barrel aging, as the older pair seems to wilt by comparison to the significantly younger ones.
    Tim,

    Have you had the Classic Cask rye? It's older than the Saz, and I thought it was excellent. During a shoot out with a number of other ryes, it came out on top for me.

  7. #7
    Connoisseur
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Near York, PA
    Posts
    897

    Re: Straight rye taste-off [was:WBAYDN]

    I have to agree with Bob, I have a bottle of the Classic Cask 22 yo Rye and it is easily the best of the 10 ryes I own.

 

 

Similar Threads

  1. Pikesville Straight Rye
    By Gillman in forum Other American Whiskey Tastings
    Replies: 28
    Last Post: 03-04-2008, 17:33
  2. Suggestions for a Straight Rye...
    By BarItemsPlus1 in forum American Rye Whiskey
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 05-30-2006, 08:50
  3. Is there more than one style of straight rye??
    By Gillman in forum American Rye Whiskey
    Replies: 47
    Last Post: 05-03-2004, 19:54
  4. Fleischmann's Straight Rye
    By Andy Traxel in forum American Rye Whiskey
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 01-05-2004, 16:02

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Back to top