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Quintessential Inexpensive Rye


Zanaspus
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As I mentioned in my intro, I'm not a real vet of bourbon, and a total rye virgin as it were. I know I like bourbon, and will taste many over my remaining days. Do I like Rye? I dunno.

My question is, what would you consider the quintessential under $30 rye. What I mean by this is; don't necessarily list your favorite. I can read that in reviews. Which rye do you taste and say, "if a person tries and likes this, he's hooked for life on rye whiskey, and if he doesn't like it, he really doesn't like rye." For example in single malt scotch, I would tell someone to try Highland Park 12YO. If you find something in there you like, you're in. If you don't, single malt scotch isn't really for you.

If no such thing exists, forgive me for my lunacy. If it does I look forward to your assistance.

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I'd say Sazerac (Saz Jr or Baby Saz around these parts) if you can find it. It isn't my favorite but it is pretty representative of the style. It would be a good starting point, anyway. Otherwise Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond (again, if you can find it). It's been mentioned on other threads but there seem to be some supply hiccups in the young rye category.

I'm sure some would suggest Wild Turkey Rye, and I think you should definitely try it at some point, but it seems to be kind of polarizing.

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Agreed - Sazerac Rye (6yr or "baby saz") would be quintessential - even down to the bottle design.

Wild Turkey 101 or Rittenhouse BIB are stellar examples as well. But considerably bolder, less mellow, and more fire & spice than Saz, but Saz has that solid "Rye flavor" - it'll remind you more of rye bread than the others.

That said, there are some 95%-100% Rye offerings out there (the above are probably "barely legal" - and only around 51%-60% Rye).

These are 95% Rye whiskeys and can usually be found under $30 (maybe not Templeton - $35 is more likely) - all made by LDI, but may not be to your liking (some folks just don't like the minty/mouthwash aspects of LDI ryes...):

Bulleit Rye

Redemption Rye

Templeton Rye

Additionally, there's Jefferson's Rye is 100% Rye and around $30 or so...(there's other offerings of this same 10 yr Canadian Rye, but they are much more expensive). This is very tasty and a good value for a 10 yr., but it is Canadian Rye, if that matters to you...

Then there's Old Potrero - with a few different expressions that you could look into if you become a Rye freak (like me!).

The above, however, aren't as iconic as the Saz, WT & Ritt to most modern Rye drinkers.

HOWEVER - if you want one of the most amazing "rye experiences" a person can have, drop the $65 for a bottle of Thomas H. Handy (barrel strength/uncut) from the Antique Collection - it's usually more readily available than the other BTAC offerings and worth *every.single.penny*

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For what you seek, it must come down to Turkey Rye 101 and Baby Saz. RittBIB, while I like it, doesn't have enough "Ryeness" to truly give you what you're looking for, IMHO.

And I would also recommend that you try BOTH Turkey and Baby Saz, as many people on here disagree about these two Ryes. (Personally, I think the Baby Saz is too medicinal, while Turkey is where it's at. There are some great palates on this board, however, who would fight me over those words.:lol: ) Both, however, do give you the quintessential Rye experience.

And don't go for the Russell's Reserve Rye, as it is too neutered to properly show that which is RYE.

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And don't go for the Russell's Reserve Rye, as it is too neutered to properly show that which is RYE.

Good call to note this. While I personally really enjoy the RRR, I agree with you - it is its own breed of Rye.

Very soft, piney/wintergreen flavor that's quite different from other Rye. It's good - but it's far from "quintessential," - you can find it in the low-to-mid $20's in many places, but it's not a great "beginner" option for learning what is - and isn't - normal for Rye.

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roostercogburn

To me, WT 101 is the quintessential (inexpensive) rye. It has all the herbal spiciness that I associate with a straight rye without going overboard into the near-minty qualities of the high-rye ryes (like Bulleit). However, the Turkey is powerful, knock-you-in-the-throat stuff. It's not as easy-drinking as Ritt BIB (which has definite bourbon-like flavors), but I'd tell anyone that if you like WT Rye, you'll like ryes in general.

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For example in single malt scotch, I would tell someone to try Highland Park 12YO. If you find something in there you like, you're in. If you don't, single malt scotch isn't really for you.

I think all the replies here are helpful, but the problem with your example is that while there are hundreds of Single Malt Scotches, there are so few straight ryes. Timd basically named just about every rye you can buy on the market today.

I think many if us here wish there were larger range of ryes that exhibited a variety of "rye-ness" so that we'd be able to say, "this or that is an exemplar." But that's hard to do when there are so few.

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My two cents...

While the above mentioned are all very good, I'd toss out Bulleit and Jeff as being on the far edge of the rye spectrum. More so the Jeff than Bulleit.

Turkey, Baby Saz, and Ritt BIB are also very good example of this class. Saz more so than Turkey in my taste. And who doesn't love the Ritt.

But the one that I would recommend hands down, would be the Willett 4yr rye.

Full body, full flavor, near barrel proof great pour that drinks absolutely great neat, brought down with water, or in a nice cocktail.

While I hoard Saz and Ritt because of scarcity, given a choice, I'd think I'd take the Willett any day.

B

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Can't agree more about the Witt Rye. Brent and I had a small. Conversation about this earlier this week on PM. It is a little more than the WT, Saz and Ritt but well worth the extra $10. Unlike myself it is much more mature than the age would show.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I've missed the Willet this last release... I need to get some.

Keep hearing great things about it. Given how much I love Handy, I'm betting the Willet is a real treat!

I'd also love to try the Abraham Bowman Cask Strength Rye that Party Source bottles...

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My two cents...

While the above mentioned are all very good, I'd toss out Bulleit and Jeff as being on the far edge of the rye spectrum. More so the Jeff than Bulleit.

Turkey, Baby Saz, and Ritt BIB are also very good example of this class. Saz more so than Turkey in my taste. And who doesn't love the Ritt.

But the one that I would recommend hands down, would be the Willett 4yr rye.

Full body, full flavor, near barrel proof great pour that drinks absolutely great neat, brought down with water, or in a nice cocktail.

While I hoard Saz and Ritt because of scarcity, given a choice, I'd think I'd take the Willett any day.

B

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You want scarcity? Saz and Ritt may be allocated, but they're not going anywhere as brands. Willett Cask Rye?? This will be a dusty soon.

You here that sucking sound? It's the sound of Diageo drying up the LDI Rye independent market.:rolleyes:

I hear you on that. I'm glad i've banked a couple away for a rainy day.

It i kind of said because I really do think they, LDI, make a really great rye.

B

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Bourbon Boiler

I'm going against the flow here, but I like rye whiskeys and do not like Baby Saz. The pine forest flavor is too much for me. To me, the Turkey 101 rye is the "starter" rye for someone who wants to learn what rye is.

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You have been given some good advice. Baby Saz and Wild Turkey Rye are both riding right down the middle of the Rye Highway and should be easy to find, they are what you are looking for. Rittenhouse and Pikesville also qualify.

Also easy to find, Jim Beam and Ri will give you a hint of an idea of what Rye can be but they are both a little understated on some of Rye's best attributes. They have the advantage of being sold in most bars and you can buy a drink or two befor you pony up for a bottle.

Let us know what you think after you explore a few Ryes.

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Jim Beam and Ri

I'd respectfully disagree. Neither are particularly good, nor great examples of Rye.

The Ri1 in some markets is still around $40 a bottle, while in others it's $20 (and still overpriced, IMHO). Honestly, can't tell too much difference between JB Rye & Ri1 - other than the super sexy vodka-like bottle that Ri1 is in.

I find them both thin, watery, and lowest common denominators of what Rye can be. In fact, I'd say they are the "rye for people who don't like rye but want to say they drink/mix with it." Ultimately both are best left as mixers, if used at all, rather than archetypes of the flavor.

Some fans of Rye typically avoid both of those expressions (I do).

Just my $.02 - no disrespect intended if you enjoy them.

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Those Willett ryes are all LDI, no? The one I tasted was so minty I might as well have been guzzling mouthwash. LDi just isn't for me, I think.

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Those Willett ryes are all LDI, no? The one I tasted was so minty I might as well have been guzzling mouthwash. LDi just isn't for me, I think.

LDI Rye has a strong wintergreen aspect that isn't for everyone.

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My favorite is Rittenhouse BIB. Around here, most bartenders swear by Wild Turkey Rye. By far the best selling rye is Jim Beam Rye.

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I know when mixing a cocktail I prefer my rye to be bold and not watered down to 80 proof. For me Ritt BIB and WT rye do the job nicely.

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I'd respectfully disagree. Neither are particularly good, nor great examples of Rye.

The Ri1 in some markets is still around $40 a bottle, while in others it's $20 (and still overpriced, IMHO). Honestly, can't tell too much difference between JB Rye & Ri1 - other than the super sexy vodka-like bottle that Ri1 is in.

I find them both thin, watery, and lowest common denominators of what Rye can be. In fact, I'd say they are the "rye for people who don't like rye but want to say they drink/mix with it." Ultimately both are best left as mixers, if used at all, rather than archetypes of the flavor.

Some fans of Rye typically avoid both of those expressions (I do).

Just my $.02 - no disrespect intended if you enjoy them.

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My favorite is Rittenhouse BIB. Around here, most bartenders swear by Wild Turkey Rye. By far the best selling rye is Jim Beam Rye.
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I enjoy JB rye even though I don't care for most other JB offerings.

I consider this to be the quitessential cheap rye along with RRBIB but the RR keeps getting more and more expensive. My last JB rye was $13 and I saw a RR for $23 a few days ago.

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