I guess this falls in the 'I want to tell everyone what I have been drinking lately' catagory. I found an old pint bottle (16 ounces, NOT metric) of Jim Beam Rye, 7 years old, 80 proof. The light yellow label is quite faded with age. There is a tax stamp across the cap, which is yellow or white plastic, but an earlier, more brittle plastic than used today. The back label reads: James B. Beam Distilling CO. Clermaont - Beam Kentucky. Straight Rye Whiskey.
And why bring this up. The taste is incredible. Smoother than Wild Turkey Rye, with a little less corn flavor. A very deep flavor for a rye whiskey, plenty of oaky barrel flavor (honey and a little vanilla notes, for you purist). The rye taste is much less biting than other ryes, even less sharp than Old Grandad bourbon. It has a pleasant mellowness that suggests that this whiskey spent even more than the seven years in the wood stated on the label. Very well balanced, with a nice bouquet and good medium texture in the mouth. Pleasant finish.
Too bad rye is a nitch, and Jim Beam has reduced it's rye aging to 4 years. I would be curious to know when my bottle might have been bottled. The stamp is numbered 013989427, which is probably meaningless. Since the current Jim Beam rye has a sharp rye taste, and comes across a little thin, I am also curious if this is the same mashbill.
Rye Whiskey continues to intrugue me with the wide variations of possible flavors. High rye bourbon can be quite sharp tasting, but straight rye whiskey (min 51% rye) can be much less sharp, or almost anywhere in between. One must think that rye must have had a lot going for it to be the dominate whiskey in this country prior to probition.
Mark A. Mason, El Dorado, Arkansas