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Jefferson's Rye


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John Hansell's latest WDJK? post mentions a new competitor for WhistlePig in the tiny "10 year-old, 100% rye" category: Jefferson's Straight Rye Whiskey.

The folks behind the Jefferson’s line of bourbons, including the outstanding Jefferson’s Presidential Select releases, told me they will be releasing a 10 year old 100% rye whiskey later this year at 94 proof. I tasted a pre-release. It reminded me of WhistlePig. I mean, it really reminded me of WhistlePig (hint!), but at a slightly lower proof (and what will be offered at the significantly lower price of about $35).
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Do we have some reason to believe either this or WhistlePig is definitely Alberta? If we're basing that on the fact that it's 100 percent rye, that's not dispositive. Just about all you can say for sure is that it's not from Walkerville, as they blend pre-barrel. Every other Canadian producer probably makes a 100 percent rye flavoring whiskey.

The 10-year age is the interesting coincidence that suggests the same producer as WhistlePig.

This may be the Jefferson's that my sources tell me was recently bottled at LDI.

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I thought I read somewhere (maybe Davin's site) that Alberta Springs was the only Canadian distillery that made a 100% rye whiskey from unmalted rye, which is why it was speculated that WhistlePig was from Alberta.

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It's hard to imagine it's anything but Alberta Distillers (Alberta Springs is a brand of AD's) because, as sku points out, the only 100% unmalted rye mash bill we know of is AD's. From Davin's site:

In Canada, however, there are two distillers who have found a way to overcome the problems of sticky rye mashes and gummed-up equipment. Hiram Walker distillery in Windsor, Ontario, has solved the problem by using malted rye. The perfect rye-converting enzymes, of course, are made by the rye grain itself as it starts to germinate. The other, Alberta Distillers, which uses 100% unmalted rye, has developed its own proprietary strain of Aspergillus fungus that specifically converts rye starches into sugars.

I'm not saying it's impossible that WhistlePig and Jefferson's come from different sources, but I think it's unlikely.

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Alberta is unique because it is the only Canadian whiskey distillery that uses rye to make its base whiskey. Everyone else uses corn. But no one publishes the recipes for their flavoring whiskeys and it is very likely that someone other than Alberta makes a 100% rye flavoring whiskey. It can't be CC because they don't age their whiskeys separately, but it could be anyone else.

Just because Alberta is the only distillery that uses 100% unmalted rye for everything, that doesn't mean another distillery doesn't use 100% unmalted rye for something.

Although the category 'rye malt whiskey' exists, it only has to be classified as such if more than 51% malted rye. "100% rye" is not a regulated term and therefore could describe a mash of malted and unmalted rye.

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I had not heard of Jefferson's Canadian rye. It pays to follow these boards.

Chuck is correct. Only two Canadian distilleries have really perfected the rye mashing process to the point that high-rye whisky is a mainstream product. However, at least seven make whisky with a very high rye content - far more than 51%. Exact mash bills, of course, are generally proprietary so we can't say they are not 100% rye.

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Thanks for the clarification, Davin and Chuck. I'll try to resist the urge to claim (with complete certainty) that any aged, 100% Canadian rye whisky must originate from Alberta Distillers from now on.

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Thanks for the clarification, Davin and Chuck. I'll try to resist the urge to claim (with complete certainty) that any aged, 100% Canadian rye whisky must originate from Alberta Distillers from now on.

Your bar bet revenue stream just flew right out the window. :cool:

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Who's the other one, Davin?

I assume that Seagram's made at least a 95% rye flavoring whiskey, since their former Lawrenceburg, Indiana, plant has long made one, so Gimli probably still makes one too.

Jumping to the conclusion that this Jefferson's and the WhistlePig are from the same distillery is probably fair, and it might be Alberta, but it's wrong to assume it must be Alberta just because we know they make a 100% rye mash.

But beyond making sure the speculation is consistent with known facts, I don't care very much about the guessing game. I prefer to just take off points for non-disclosure.

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  • 1 month later...

castle brands latest (april 2011) 8k filing with the SEC indicates what most of us know: in fy 2012 (current year for them), they intend to launch jefferson's rye, limited edition (doesn't say how many) and priced $5 above the regular offering (do they have a regular rye already or are they referring to the reserve bourbon?).

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They've never sold a rye under the Jefferson's name. The COLA also mentions that it's 100% rye made in Canada so, presumably, the same stuff as Whistle Pig.

They also seem to have parted ways with KBD and are now doing their bottling at LDI. My sources inside LDI have confirmed that.

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i'm really looking forward to this rye. is this supposed to be a regular limited release edition? presumably, if it's around $35, there will be more.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Looks like John Hansell has gotten his hands on a bottle. Aside from being jealous, I'm very excited about this whiskey! According to John, it tastes very similar to Whistle Pig and will be much more affordable. Can't wait for it's release!

Josh

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

post-6524-14489817372211_thumb.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Heads up, just found my first bottles on a shelf during my weekly (at least) stroll through Binny's for $34.99. I am VERY curious to see how it stands up to Whistle Pig!

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Ugh, super jealous Aaron!! Please post back your thoughts!!

Josh

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Thanks for the encouragement Josh! First impressions:

The nose is very pleasing, all good notes... actually I forgot the nose now because I've had a glass. It definitely has that same grassy finish full of wormwoody spice that I found with the Whistle Pig. Tasting Whistle Pig alongside the Jefferson's, the thought strikes that in addition to the slightly higher proof bringing a more clean, purer experience, the Whistle Pig could be coming from honey barrels while the Jefferson's from right next door.

The Whistle Pig is more succinct and a little sweeter, tangier. The Jefferson's is a bit more general with more of a glazed sweetness, less delicate. Despite the lower proof, the Jefferson's is a little hotter.

When it comes down to it, though, this is some great juice. Much more lively than Templeton's, for instance, and at a better price. It's been too long since I've had Baby Saz to compare, but if Whistle Pig's superiority called for a $55-$60 price (rather than the $70 price I bought it for), Jefferson's earns its price point in spades.

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Great info Aaron! Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to trying it soon.

Josh

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I can't wait to find a bottle of this. I just called up my local shop and asked if they can get it for me. Hopefully I'll know in a couple days.

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I tried some of this (with AaronWF of course) yesterday. I can't quibble with his tasting notes, but tasting that + Whistle Pig side by side helped me conclude that I just don't like 100% rye. The lack of a corn backbone really makes them both taste one-dimensional to me.

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I tried some of this (with AaronWF of course) yesterday. I can't quibble with his tasting notes, but tasting that + Whistle Pig side by side helped me conclude that I just don't like 100% rye. The lack of a corn backbone really makes them both taste one-dimensional to me.

Out of curiosity, do you feel the same about LDI Rye?(95% Rye/5% Barley)

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I ordered a bottle of this from an online retailer today. Should have it in a couple days. I'm looking forward to trying this one.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally got to try this. Seems like the same pedigree as WhistlePig. I think WP got the better barrels but the Jeff is still a fine pour. And a heck of a bargain.

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I have yet to try it. I may have to order it. I had some wp given to me from Dave Pickerell, and it is a different animal. i think it is the aging climate in Canada. It totally suprised me. You would think the rye jumped right out, but it did not. I had to grow on me. The stuff from LDI to me, screams I AM RYE.

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