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Thread: Rye Virgin

  1. #1
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    Rye Virgin

    As a bourbon lover but rye virgin, I am tempted by the new Sazerac 18. Is it as good as everyone says? Of course, I could start with Old Overholt to see if rye does it for me, but am tempted to go for something really special right off the bat. How good is Sazerac?


  2. #2
    **DONOTDELETE**
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    Re: Rye Virgin

    Hi Henry! Whereya been? We missed you!

    You said,"...I am tempted by the new Sazerac 18. Is it as good as everyone says?"

    Yes.

    "...Of course, I could start with Old Overholt to see if rye does it for me, but am tempted to go for something really special right off the bat."

    Old Overholt *is* something special; don't let the low price fool you. It's flavor profile pretty much defines one end of the rye spectrum. If you like it, Lot No. 40 (from Canada, but worthy of any collection) is even more so. I recommend it highly. Sazerac is at the other end of the rye spectrum, and a really outstanding example of that style. If you like that better, Old Rip Van Winkle 12-year-old Rye goes even further in that direction. The others fall in between these two and there's quite a bit of variety.

    =John=
    http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

  3. #3
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    Re: Rye Virgin

    Thanks John. And how would you describe the two ends of the rye flavor spectrum?


  4. #4
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    Re: Rye Virgin

    Poorly. That's what Linn's here for. :-))

    Rye grain has a sharp flavor, which you can taste in rye bread and in bourbons like Old Grand Dad with lots of rye in the mashbill. In bourbon, that "bite" offsets the sweetness of the corn and highlights the carmel and vanilla flavors extracted from the oak barrels. Many bourbon afficianados practically rate the whole bourbon on the way the rye comes on. In straight rye whiskey, of course, that flavor is more pronounced. Those ryes on the Sazerac/VanWinkle12 end emphasize the rye "bite" at the surface, with the depth and complexity of the full flavor making them the fine examples that they are. At the Overholt/Lot40 end, the rye flavor is there, but there is both a sweetness and a "creaminess" that is very different. So different, in fact, that if you had only two bottles of rye -- OldRipVanWinkle 12-year-old and Lot No. 40 -- it would be hard to believe they were considered the same kind of liquor.

    =John=
    http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

  5. #5
    **DONOTDELETE**
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    Re: Rye Virgin

    Don't sell yourself short there Golden Dudester you did just fine! I don't have much experiance with straight rye whiskey, but of thoes few that I have tried I like Old Overholt right well. I've just *got* to get up your way and impose upon you to make use of your lushly appointed whiskey reaserch facility!

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  6. #6
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
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    140

    Re: Rye Virgin

    > Is it as good as everyone says?

    Better. This is just one drunk kid's opinion, but it's not only the best American whiskey I've ever tasted, but it's at least as good if not better than any whisk(e)y I've ever tasted, period, with only 1974 Longrow possibly matching it. Considering I've had around 1,500 (and only one of those was Heaven Hill Ultra Deluxe), that's saying something. The complexity is so expansive; there are a lot of flavors in there, but unlike a lot of other, tighter whiskeys (of which this should be one at 18 years old), those flavors are very distinct and easy to pick out on the nose, on the palate and in the finish. Go ahead and get one. If you don't like it, I will personally refund your money.

    Stotz


  7. #7
    **DONOTDELETE**
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    Re: Rye Virgin

    OK Ryan Now I want one too!

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  8. #8
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    Mar 2000
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    Re: Rye Virgin

    Thanks for talking me into buying a bottle, Ryan. What a testimonial! I'm still becoming acquainted with it, but this is clearly a superior whiskey. While I don't know if I'll become a rye convert (I miss the bourbon sweetness) the Sazerac is certainly a delicious change of pace.


  9. #9
    Advanced Taster
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    Nov 1999
    Location
    Eugene, Oregon, USA
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    Re: Rye Virgin

    Henry:

    "Thanks for talking me into buying a bottle, Ryan. What a testimonial!"

    Don't thank me, thank the Sazerac folks. They're responsible for provoking that testimonial from me.

    "I'm still becoming acquainted with it, but this is clearly a superior whiskey."

    There's a lot in there with which to acquaint oneself. About halfway through my first bottle right now and it's still giving up new traces of flavor. You really can tell that a lot of care (not to mention some good luck) went into the quality of the whiskey rather than just the packaging (which obviously required some work itself).

    "While I don't know if I'll become a rye convert (I miss the bourbon sweetness) the Sazerac is certainly a delicious change of pace."

    I understand what you mean. Most ryes (and I'll include Old Grand-Dad BIB here since it's as much a rye as most ryes) are still sweet, but it's more a suggestion or essence of sweetness rather than the pleasant corn assault of bourbon. Often times the sweetness comes on in the finish and comes on big. Both (all, if you want to include the Hirsch) the Van Winkle ryes do this. As someone who came to bourbon through Old Charter Proprietors Reserve and Wild Turkey Rare Breed, I too tended toward the sweetness of bourbon, but once I "got" rye, boy did I "get" it. I think you'll find it a pleasant pursuit.

    Stotz



  10. #10
    Advanced Taster
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    Jun 2000
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    Pittsburgh, PA
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    168

    Re: Rye Virgin

    Ryan,

    That's exactly right - it's the dry, dark-chocolate quality that keeps bringing me back to rye. You know, that allows the whiskeys you mentioned to be better company for food or a fine smoke than many of the near-cloying bourbons on the market. Have you ever heard of an old PA rye called Sam Thompson - it would narrow your eyes, but in a smooth way...

    Ralph Wilps


 

 

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