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Bill Samuels on rye


Jono
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Not sure if this was posted before but this comment from Bill Samuels seems to fly in the face of popularity:

http://www.gq.com/news-politics/blogs/death-race/2012/06/a-brief-foray-into-whiskey-politics.html

On June 11, 2012 at 5:37 AM

A Brief Foray into Whiskey Politics

By Reid Cherlin

"..."What are your thoughts then," I asked, springing my trap, "about the rising popularity of rye whiskey?"

Boom.

"You people," Samuels huffed, shaking his head. "All the press cares about is 'what's next.'" He put his hand against my elbow, and for just a moment, in the midst of his post-partisan cocktail party for the Cocktail Party, he let loose his inner partisan. "Rye," he said firmly, "is a back-of-the-palate taste. Back-of-the-palate stuff has never been appealing to Americans. And that's a fact."

Read More http://www.gq.com/news-politics/blogs/death-race/2012/06/a-brief-foray-into-whiskey-politics.html#ixzz2Rc2SaQjT

Never been appealing to Americans? Wow.

Well, no MM Rye then....and explains the use of wheat rather than any rye.

"Maker's Mark is unusual in that no rye is used as part of the mash. Instead red winter wheat is used, along with corn (the predominant grain) and malted barley."

Edited by Jono
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Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't Bill Samuels responsible for marketing a brand (with only 2 expressions) that depends on the LACK of rye in the mash bill as its reason for existence?

Bill Samuels has NO rye to sell, therefore, it's a product that is not of interest - to him!

Any good salesman will tell you the product he has for sale is much better than the one he doesn't have!!!

Edited by portwood
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Yep, they are rye averse and evidently plan on keeping their distance. It is a branding issue. I don't mind MM, in fact, I put in squarely in

my middle range of personal tastes, because it is a wheater it is inherently a little easier on the tongue, but, I really enjoy the spice and

complex flavors that rye adds. To be fair, his statement was said to the reporter as a private comment, but it does reflect his view re product.

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He is talking about perceived mass market tastes, and he may be right. This is why after 30 years of trying, craft beer is still only about 6% of the market by volume (it is about 10% by value). Well-hopped beer - i.e., beer which uses traditional amounts of hops in its formulation - still is largely abjured by the average person. "It's bitter" they say...

Same thing with the rye tang in whiskey. You could say the same for Islay whiskey, for root beer (think about it) not to mention sarsparilla, for gin (now overtaken by tasteless vodka), and many things.

It is a careful commercial calculation. He is not talking about his personal taste, but the market.

Gary

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Wait, wait...

Rye has never been appealing to Americans? Is this guy retarded or does he know nothing of the history of his industry? Rye was THE whiskey Americans drank for years and was the only whiskey in America until bourbon was invented. Even after the advent of bourbon, most Americans in the mid-Atlantic states still drank rye! It was only after prohibition that rye fell out of favor with Americans. Only now has the country re-realized the good flavor of rye whiskey. It sounds like he feels threatened by people liking rye again. One more reason I hate Maker's Mark. Nasty swill.

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The funny thing is his distilling ancestors going back to 1844 made the family reputation and fortune on rye recipe Bourbon.

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A few of us hit the MM tour during Sampler weekend. The guides really hammer the whole "Bill Samuels thought rye is bitter or too spicy or whatever blah blah blah" thing to the point that we couldn't stop starting sentences with "Bill Samuels hated bourbon..." for the rest of the day.

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A few of us hit the MM tour during Sampler weekend. The guides really hammer the whole "Bill Samuels thought rye is bitter or too spicy or whatever blah blah blah" thing to the point that we couldn't stop starting sentences with "Bill Samuels hated bourbon..." for the rest of the day.
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Bill isn't the only one who isn't in love with Rye, oddly enough Jimmy Russel who makes one of the best rye whiskies in the planet doesn't drink rye!

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It makes sense he wouldn't "like" straight rye if as we know he is not crazy about rye-recipe bourbon - it's all the same idea, just on a continuum. But again, I think he is really talking about perceived market preference (although perhaps he shares it, but I don't think his remarks are clear on that. Certainly Julian Van Winkle, from a great wheat-recipe bourbon line, has always been capable of enjoying fine rye whiskey. IIRC, Julian has said initially he did not know much about rye but clearly he was a fast learner. To me, any exponent of fine American whiskey has to salute rye, where it all started. It may not be one's taste preference, but its role in American whiskey history and at the upper ranges of its palate quality (to many mavens) is unquestionable).

Gary

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Just another point I'd like to make is, there are a number of SB-ers - I included - who have gone through their own evolution with rye whiskey. Many said 5 or 10 years before reaching their palate "prime" that they couldn't abide rye, it was too earthy, or muddy, or grassy. Many of these tasters though finally did acquire an appreciation for it.

It is very much an acquired taste, but many would attest, in the hackneyed phrase, that it is a taste worth acquiring.

Gary

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Bill isn't the only one who isn't in love with Rye, oddly enough Jimmy Russel who makes one of the best rye whiskies in the planet doesn't drink rye!
He does? When did that start?
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Josh, I was there late last year and interviewed him. We talked at length about his rye and he said it wasn't something he really drank or liked. He loves to make it, but when it comes to drinking it's all about WT101.

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Josh, I was there late last year and interviewed him. We talked at length about his rye and he said it wasn't something he really drank or liked. He loves to make it, but when it comes to drinking it's all about WT101.
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He may distill some great rye, they just aren't bottling very much, or any, of it right now!

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Neither Bill Sr. or Jr. distilled anything.

I think Bill Sr. baked a bit of bread maybe.

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