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Thread: Rye Virgin

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  1. #1
    Apprentice
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
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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
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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
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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
    **DONOTDELETE**
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    Re: Rye Virgin

    <font color=yellow>Real_j_lipman muses:</font color=yellow>
    <font color=orange>"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."</font color=orange>

    To paraphrase Mike Meyers from a favorite Saturday Night Live skit: " Here's Canada, here's Kentucky, they're bloody DIFFERENT." [IMG]/wwwthreads/images/wink.gif[/IMG]

    However, apart from your minor gaff, your point is well articulated and spot on. It still ceases to amaze me that Old Overholt is made with a 59% rye grain bill, yet is on the opposite end of the brittleness scale from its stablemate Jim Beam Rye.

    Cheers,

    Bushido




  7. #7
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    Re: Rye Virgin

    To paraphrase the paraphrase: "Here's Lot No. 40, here's every single other Canadian whiskey, they're even MORE bloody different!

    Although currently produced by Jim Beam, and by National Distillers in Frankfort, Kentucky for years before that, Old Overholt is a type of rye that was produced in Pennsylvania's Monongahela River valley before and just after Prohibition. The style dates from the earliest days of whiskeymaking in North America, and it's historical significance is strong (it also tastes really good). The Revolutionary War (and the subsequent rebellion over the federal whiskey tax to pay off the debts of that war) sent a good number of those fine (and loyalist) whiskeymen north to Ontario. Lot No. 40 (supposedly named for immigrant Joshua Booth's homestead address near the Bay of Quinte) almost certainly represents a style of rye whisk(e)y that is no less unique in Canada than is Overholt in the U.S., and into which fit both of these, which seem very closely related to one another.

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

  8. #8
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    Re: Rye Virgin

    <font color=yellow> Real_j bastidized the following:</font color=yellow>
    <font color=orange>"To paraphrase the paraphrase: "Here's Lot No. 40, here's every single other Canadian whiskey, they're even MORE bloody different!"</font color=orange>

    Okay, *until* I can convince John Hall to bottle that sweet stuff he has squirreled away across from New York State, you are correct sir! Even the bona fide 100% rye grain Alberta Premium has nothing on the Lot No.40. The fact remains though that bourbons and straight ryes bare no earthly resemblence to Canadian Whisky (Rye). I guess if you wanted to compare something to the Lot No.40, the closest you could get would be the Old Potrero, but even that is a completely different species.

    I certainly would not quarrel about the Old Overcoat, I absolutely adore the stuff at that price. Thank you for enlightening me to the close ties to another favorite of mine, the Hirsch 16yr (albeit a "bourbon"). It is sad to realize that the Lot No.40 has for years been relegated to the role of "flavoring" but OTOH is encouraging to see that our Northern neighbors have begun to appreciate the treasures that may lie dormant in their warehouses. If only Seagrams were so bold to release the Lawrenceburg Indiana 100% rye, it might even make you cocksure about American distilling again.

    Cheers,
    Bushido



  9. #9
    **DONOTDELETE**
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    Re: Rye Virgin

    I think we're in 100% agreement here. I hold no sorrow for Lot No.40's years spent as a flavoring whiskey, only a strong appreciation of Corby's decision to release it on its own. Diageo certainly didn't carry on United Distillers' trend of releasing interesting bottlings when they were in the bourbon biz, but maybe the story with Seagram's will be different. I've heard really wonderfull things about the flavoring rye produced in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, and it's right up the road from me. Truth is, until Prohibition, much (most?) of the straight bourbon produced in Kentucky was used for flavoring blends. I imagine there are still some unbelievably great bourbons, ryes, and maybe even wheats and barleys out there that only the distillers will ever have tasted.

    Thanks, Corby, for letting us try Lot No.40. I think Jimmy Russell's already done that (Wild Turkey 12-year-old). And I think Booker Noe did, too.

    Hey, Ken Weber! Craig Beam! Bill Friel! We know you guys have some blow-away "flavoring whiskeys"; why not market them?

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

  10. #10
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    Nov 2000
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    Frankfort, KY
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    499

    Re: Rye Virgin

    We certainly have several un-released bourbons and whiskies. We are constantly experimenting and trying new things. We are even going to distill two new whiskies based on input from a reader of Straightbourbon.com. Look for some new releases from Buffalo Trace within a few years.

    Ken


 

 

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