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Rye Value - What's the best pour under X?


humchan2k
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Reposting this here in the Rye area, as I have it in the bourbon discussion....and I like the debate for rye better, anyway. :)

Ok, here's one thing I notice here....we discuss price, we discuss value, we discuss flavor, but we rarely ever see any discussion or listing of people's fave juice under given price points...so, let's do it. This is for rye only....

I want you to give me your personal fave picks for rye under 6 distinct price points...ready? Hopefully this will work for a way for some folks to see new suggestions of great stuff and to get inspiration.... I'll start :) (All prices should INCLUDE sales tax, this is the final purchase price here, folks)

Under $20 - Pikesville, no question. How can you beat a good, mixable rye that actually has character and flavor (Beam Rye and Overholt, please see yourself out of this conversation) for under $20? Pikesville is awesome.

$21-30 - Rittenhouse BiB, again, no questions. The big brother to the Pikesville, we have discussed this booze to death...and there's a reason. I am thrilled to have gotten a case of it while I can, cuz it's gone off shelves in LA for the year already.

$31-45 - This is sort of a gap group in rye...not a lot of variety at this price point....since LA costs so freaking much, I am going to cheat and say Baby Saz, cuz a bottle here in LA is about $35. That being said, I still like Rittenhouse BiB BETTER.

$46-60 - Again, there is a bit of lapse in the market for this price point...I think the only rye I have that would fit this bill is R1, but I dunno....I never buy that crap....suggestions? I think some of y'all can find Van Winkle Reserve Rye for about this price point, right? I wouldn't know, as I have yet to ever see a single bottle of that stuff on the shelf....ever.

$61-80 - Tough one. Do you go with Saz 18 or the Handy? How do you choose between 2 amazing products? I gotta say......Saz 18. My personal favorite rye in the entire world, at any price point.

$81-Whatever - Well, this rye is not as good to me as either Handy or Saz 18, but it fits the price point (again, LA is expensive)...so I am going to say Whistlepig Rye as my choice. I met Yuri Kato, their marketing manager, and Dave at the LA WhiskyFest, which was rad, and I like this enough that I have bought a bottle of it....but I don't think I will be buying too much more of it, that is, of course, until my Saz 18 and Handy supplies run out! It's big and bold, very grain driven with some sweetness at the end...a good product, but a tough price.

So...add on! Thoughts? Let's see where this heads!

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You're getting ripped off on the Baby Saz, Hi-Time has it for $25. Here are my picks:

Under $20: Pikesville or Wild Turkey 101.

$21-30: Baby Saz

$31-45: As you say, sort of a gap; can't really think of anything great in that neighborhood. Templeton and Hudson are in the range, but I can't say I'd recommend either of them.

$46-60: No contest: High West Rendezvous Rye.

$61-$80: Agree that it's a tough one between Saz 18 and Handy (and WhistlePig to boot). I concur with you that in the end, I'd got with Saz 18.

$81-on. Again, I think you're paying too much. WhistlePig is around $70 at Hi-Time. In this range, I would go with Rittenhouse 23, but I haven't tried the Rittenhouse 25 yet. Also, some of the old Black Maple Hill 23 year old rye was fantastic and High West 16 is also very good.

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Under $20: Pikesville, Ritt80, and Fleischmann's. (Sku, if you can get WTRye101 for under $20, I hate you.):grin: :grin:

$21-$30: RittBIB, WTRye101. (I just can't accept the medicinal finish on Baby Saz.)

$31-$45: Willet 2yr Indiana Cask Strength.

$46-$60: Handy, VWFRR.

$61-$80: Saz 18yr. While I'm often critical of this bottling, I do drink it. What's a Rye lover to do with so few offering?:rolleyes:

$80plus: The true sweet spot. Vintage 21yr, BMH 23yr, Hirsch 22 and 25yr. (Maybe in 2011 I'll finally pop for a Ritt21yr behind the wife's financial back. Right after I buy a Pappy 23.) Humchan, if you have not had any of these over 20yr Ryes, do so asap. I think your love of Saz18 will quickly fade. (They're not cheap, but good things cost money.)

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My picks are Rittenhouse BIB, WT and if you want to go a step up, Sazerac. I'm not much nto the older ryes!

Thomas

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TheGentleman

Under 20: ??

21-30: RittBIB and Baby Saz

31-45: Michter's Single Barrel (I think this is darn tasty for $35)

46-60: VWFRR...no question

60+: Rittenhouse 23 yr is the only rye I've had at this price point, but it was excellent!

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Under $20: Pikesville is a bargain

$21-$30: Baby Saz

$31-$45: Ri (is a decent $20 bottle of rye being sold for much more than it should cost) WTRRR (also way overpriced but tasty none the less)

$46-$60: VWFRR.

$61-$80: Saz 18yr., Handy, High West 16, High West Rezendezvous, the new High West 2/16.

$80plus: So many good ones - BMH 23, Vintage 21 and 23, High West 21, Ritt 21, Old Portrero Hotelings, Rathskeller or Willett (same juice as the BMH and Vintage but at barrel strength)

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  • 2 weeks later...
mrmountainhop

I have to play here, I love rye.

Under $20: Rittenhouse BIB, no question

$21-$30: There's rye available in this price range?

$31-$45: See $21-30.

$46-$60: Handy. Although in my world (SoCal) Handy costs $75 +, I put it here because it's truly spectacular, I think I'll pour some right now, and I need to make room for...

$61-$80: VWFRR, which is nectar of the gods. I buy every bottle of this I can find and bunker half of them. When the zombies march toward our inevitable doom, I'll toast the end with VWFR Rye. (I cannot wait until fresh, non-tanked VWFFR becomes available.)

$80 plus: Rittenhouse 21. OMG, that's incredible whiskey. I have yet to pull the trigger on a bottle of 23, at $165. Ouch. But the 21, that's special occasion delish.

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$31-$45: Ri (is a decent $20 bottle of rye being sold for much more than it should cost) WTRRR (also way overpriced but tasty none the less)

Ri is priced at $19.99 at all Specs in Houston. Actually it is $24.99, but $5 off with Spec's key (free - frequent shopper program). The priced was changed to this 4-5 months ago with note saying $5 off expired 12-31. That date came and went and $5 off is still valid, so I'm thinking this now permanent price in Houston.

3 years ago, before all the trendy bartenders discovered Rye, Rittenhouse BIB was under $15......

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I have to play here, I love rye.

Under $20: Rittenhouse BIB, no question

The fact that you can do this right here is just retarded.....it's $26 out west, and it comes one a year, like Kwanzaa.

$21-$30: There's rye available in this price range?

Yep.

$31-$45: See $21-30.

Again, yep.

$46-$60: Handy. Although in my world (SoCal) Handy costs $75 +, I put it here because it's truly spectacular, I think I'll pour some right now, and I need to make room for...

Yes, yes you do.

$61-$80: VWFRR, which is nectar of the gods. I buy every bottle of this I can find and bunker half of them. When the zombies march toward our inevitable doom, I'll toast the end with VWFR Rye. (I cannot wait until fresh, non-tanked VWFFR becomes available.)

I can't find this in Cali, where have you been looking?

$80 plus: Rittenhouse 21. OMG, that's incredible whiskey. I have yet to pull the trigger on a bottle of 23, at $165. Ouch. But the 21, that's special occasion delish.

I can be over in 10.:cool:

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roostercogburn

Fun topic.

<$20: Rittenhouse BiB. If this were more readily available, I'd have no reason to pop for Overholt.

$21-$30: WT 101. A real rye bargain. It may be an unpopular opinion, but I prefer the spiciness of WT to Ritt BiB (or maybe I'm swayed by the fact that WT Rye is ubiquitous here).

$31-$45: This is a weird price point for ryes. I once paid ~30 for Baby Saz. Wouldn't jump at it again at that price. Michter's just doesn't do it for me at this or any other price.

$46-$60: VWFRR. Tastes much older than its labeled 13 yrs, which if I understand correctly, it is (or once was). Just hope they don't start pricing it like an older rye.

$61-$80: Toss up between Handy and Saz 18, depending if I want the aggressiveness of the former or the utter drinkability of the latter. I probably lean more towards the 18, but the dearth of it around Dallas has made me grown to appreciate Handy, which never seems in short supply here.

$80<: Another toss up: Ritt 21 or Hirsch 22, both of which are stellar ryes. Paid over $100 for each of them and never questioned whether they were worth it. They are.

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Fun topic.

$21-$30: WT 101. A real rye bargain. It may be an unpopular opinion, but I prefer the spiciness of WT to Ritt BiB (or maybe I'm swayed by the fact that WT Rye is ubiquitous here).

I don't know what the hell ubiquitous means, but you got good taste. Turkey Rye is a great value.

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Fun topic.

<$20: Rittenhouse BiB. If this were more readily available, I'd have no reason to pop for Overholt.

$21-$30: WT 101. A real rye bargain. It may be an unpopular opinion, but I prefer the spiciness of WT to Ritt BiB (or maybe I'm swayed by the fact that WT Rye is ubiquitous here).

Nice post, Rooster. I'm with you on pretty much every point. And as much as I enjoy my VWFRR and Handy Sazerac/Saz 18 (and Michter's 10, not the US1), I drink far more WT Rye and Rittenhouse BIB which I enjoy equally, depending upon my mood. Whenever either one approaches the empty bottle range, I replace them ASAP. Great rye at even greater prices IMO.

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At the risk of turning this into an echo chamber (I mean seriously, where else do you find this much agreement?) I'll post my thoughts.

<$15: Beam. I like it a lot. Most of the bottles I've bought recently have been in the "pretty good even without considering the price" category. One was even in the great category-- only lasted 4 days. Really the only other cheap rye I can find consistently here is Overholt and I'm not a huge fan.

$15-20: WT 101 Rye. Rittenhouse BiB is getting both more expensive and harder to find, and with WT right at the $20 mark most places I don't even hesitate.

$20-30: WT 101 Rye, again. Baby Sazerac is very good--but it's almost as if it's too perfect, to my taste. I prefer the Turkey.

$30 +: I'm a cheapskate so I've found no reason to spring for rye in this price range (other than occasionally at a bar) when I'm perfectly happy with the cheaper stuff.

Basically it comes down to mood-- sometimes the Beam sweetness fits the bill, otherwise, it's WT.

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  • 2 weeks later...

$30 +: I'm a cheapskate so I've found no reason to spring for rye in this price range (other than occasionally at a bar) when I'm perfectly happy with the cheaper stuff.

You should really try one though. The VWFRR is something special. Treat your self to one just because you deserve it.

I would say that in the under 20 range would be Rittenhouse BIB, as I paid 18 and some change for it. I am not sure if I will ever pay close to that again.

In the 20 to 30 range would definitely go to Wild Turkey 101. Sadly I have not yet bought a bottle of baby Saz to compare it too. But I have tried it in a bar.

Then I jump up to the 40 to 70 Range, and there are 3 contenders here Thomas Handy, VWFRR, and Saz 18. It is a really close choice between the Handy and the VW. But in the end VWFRR edges it out.

Now for the the "Best of the Bunch" I would roll it back to where we started. Ritt BIB, when you factor in the value plus taste.

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roostercogburn
Nice post, Rooster. I'm with you on pretty much every point. And as much as I enjoy my VWFRR and Handy Sazerac/Saz 18 (and Michter's 10, not the US1), I drink far more WT Rye and Rittenhouse BIB which I enjoy equally, depending upon my mood. Whenever either one approaches the empty bottle range, I replace them ASAP. Great rye at even greater prices IMO.

Couldn't agree more. Though the great ryes are uber-expensive (and darn hard to find!), rye drinkers do have it made with cheap, available offerings like the Ritt BiB and WT rye that don't sacrifice anything in terms of enjoyment for their humble prices. I probably go through 2 bottles each of those two for every bottle of the 18+ yr range.

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  • 1 month later...

Great idea for a Rye topic! Rye is a marvelous value for now....

Under $20 - Pikesville, no question. Great flavor but unavailable here in Atlanta. Luckily, I can find my favorite everyday Rye: WT 101 for right at $20! I can get Pikesville when I go to McScrooge's in Knoxville.

$21-30 - Rittenhouse BiB, but again, not often available here. When I see it, I buy it. I'm down to my last bottle so I need to start looking. Right now I have to say for this price it would have to be a big bottle of Bulleit 95% Rye. Love the flavor so I'm drinking a lot of this stuff!

$31-45 - High West Rendezvous Rye. I just found a bottle of the Double Rye so I haven't tasted it yet. I plan to do a testing of the LDI rye offerings (Bulleit, High West, and Templeton) sometime next week.

$46-60 - If I EVER find Van Winkle Reserve Rye for this price point, I will buy all they have of it. It's probably my second favorite rye of all.

$61-80 - Definately the Sazerac 18yo Rye. I'm not as fond of the TW Handy but will buy it when I find it. When I find the Saz 18 I will buy all they have! My personal favorite rye at any price.

$81-Whatever - Since we don't get Whistlepig (is it really THAT expensive?) there isn't a rye here in this price range.

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I will amend my earlier post to say that, despite being a cheapskate, I would probably spring for another bottle of Saz 18, now that I have one. I haven't tried Handy or VWFRR but I'm guessing that I would love them both... may try to grab a Handy soon.

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I will amend my earlier post to say that, despite being a cheapskate, I would probably spring for another bottle of Saz 18, now that I have one. I haven't tried Handy or VWFRR but I'm guessing that I would love them both... may try to grab a Handy soon.
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Locally available we have WT under $20, Saz NAS under $25, Handy and Saz 18 are both under $70 but are available only once a year and you have to know the guys who run the store because those two don't reach the shelves.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Probably not qualified to comment, but I agree with the general consensus on Rittenhouse BIB.

This thread has convinced me that I need to try Pikesville.

At the above $81 price point I have a bottle of Black Maple Hill 18 yr and am quite happy with it.

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Under $25 - Ritt BiB & WT 101 Rye are unbeatable. Two of the best bangs for the buck in the world of brown spirits period... I could live off of either of them if had to.

Handy & Van Winkle Ryes are the nectar of the gods. As a Scotch drinker (don't beat me...), I can comfortably say they are reasonably priced relative to what I have to pay for a "good" bottle of 10-12 YO Islay malt... And those two are truly amazing spirits. Stunning. Somebody else said this, but they are like crack. Really.

Also worth the money:

  • Russels Reserve Rye (if under $30) - mintiest.rye.ever. Love it!
  • Saz Jr. - what got me into Rye, and I still love it
  • R1 - if $25 or under, which it's mostly priced at now
  • Saz 18 - worth every penny, but I still prefer Handy & Family Reserve
  • Vintage 21 - Wow. So hard to find at anything approaching reasonable anymore, but if you can get it under $90, pop on it.
  • Redemption - price seems to be creeping closer to $30. If under $25, it's a great find. Very... unique. Not amazing, but interesting and worth a try.

There's really not a "bad" rye that I've tried (OK, maybe Old Potero's pre-prohibition formula, I didn't enjoy it even a little), but from Wasmunds to Grand Traverse's Old George to Templeton and Jim Beam, the values vary quite a bit and some are much better than others, but I've got no regrets so far!

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