First off - I'm new to rye whiskey. I was a vodka drinker until April of this year when I had my first drink of Whistle Pig. I've since found that I prefer a lot of other ryes to Whistle Pig, but that was the beginning. My vodka habit has been more or less cured by rye. I really don't know that much about rye other than it tastes really really good. I now have about twenty different ryes in my cabinet.
A fan of the 7 year 99 proof Old Scout rye, I was really excited to learn that there is an 8 year Old Scout Barrel Proof rye, and I ordered a bottle immediately. The only other barrel proof I've tried is Redemption's Barrel Proof rye which I really like a lot.
My bottle of Old Scout Barrel Proof arrived today. Tonight, I put Old Scout Barrel Proof, Barrel #277 (119.4 proof) up against my bottle of Redemption Barrel Proof Batch 2 (121.3 proof) - side by side - neat - no water added.
There was no comparison.
Upon my first taste of Old Scout BP, I actually coughed - as one coughs from a bad shot. It tasted like... well, it tasted like sipping something that is 120 proof. Now about half-way through my bottle of 121 proof Redemption BP, I've never had that experience before sipping Redemption BP or any other rye. I went back and forth taking sips between the two. Both aged LDI/MGP, the taste was not dissimilar. But somehow, the Redemption went down much much smoother. I found the Old Scout harsh and unpleasant - the high alcohol content was getting in the way of the flavor. Not so at all with the Redemption.
Redemption wins hands down. It's more expensive than the Old Scout, but it is just so much smoother, and it also has a much nicer bottle.
Smoky Beast be damned. I like me some Barrel Proof Redemption.
As a footnote, I much prefer the 99 proof 7 year Old Scout to the 92 proof Redemption and consider it on par with the Redemption Barrel Proof - depending how much kick I'm in the mood for.
But the Old Scout Barrel Proof is no doubt toward the bottom tier of my current rye bar.