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Aged Ryes: One-time artifact of the '80s Bust?


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Very old rye will be available again ... eventually ... the cyclical nature of whisky production will ensure this outcome.

Old stocks of anything exist after a period of low demand during which production was high (in response to prior high demand). In response to the lower demand distillers use said old stocks to beef up the quality. As relative quality rises enthusiasts cause demand to spike again causing shortages. In response to the shortages distillers beef up production but are forced to use younger stocks to fill contemporary demand - quality falls while prices rise - having the expected results of lowering demand once again. Repeat ... the only question is the timing and duration of the cycle.

It is inevitable that as prices continue to rise - and tastes shift to something else - demand for rye will eventually fizzle. By the time current (relatively) high production of rye comes of age demand will then be lower than it is today and distillers can't sell all of it. As a result it will sit in the warehouses waiting for demand to come back.

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All the more reason to enjoy what we can today.

Truth. The whiskey wheel keeps turning.

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Look North for unfound stocks of older Rye.

Then hope the Canadian distillers continue to sell to American NDP's, and/or they come to their senses* and start bottling their so called "flavouring whiskies" uncut/unfiltered.

* so far they appear to be living under a rock and haven't noticed demand from whisky geeks for high abv, un-chilfiltered, natural colour, single barrel/small batch offerings being bottled by the Scotch and American producers.

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They make it to sell it so I'm confident they will provide what maximizes profit.

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In terms of Canada as a source of supply, most of the straight rye here from what I understand is not aged in new charred oak, or not 100%. The stocks which supplied Masterson's, WhistlePig and the Jefferson 10 rye appear to be exceptions and seem to be from one distillery. One might question even then how much of it there is, given this kind of whiskey was distilled presumably to blend with a much larger amount of whisky distilled from a high proof.

Therefore, it likely won't work since most Canadian rye distilled out at low proof won't really taste like American straight whiskey. It is designed to be a blending whisky, one can see that a small amount of piney strong tasting but light-bodied whisky will give a certain flavour to a much larger amount of aged GNS (which often then is tweaked with a sherry addition, caramel, or something similar to ensure a good taste). It's not really meant for neat drinking I think (e.g. Lot 40 although it sells well enough), Masterson's and the similar brands mentioned apart.

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Gary's point is correct and the reason why we are seeing posts of some members being a little disappointed with the Canadians not reaching a flavor expectation based on US style whiskys.

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MyOldKyDram

Yes, but again isn't this what the HW21 was for? And that stuff is wonderfully good.

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Yes, the HW is an American version with a different mashbill (53% rye) and production techniques (probably) but it was intended to be used in Canadian blends.

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About that HW: first, it was very long aged. Anything long-aged will ultimately take flavors from the wood (any malt, any Canadian standard blend like Wiser's 18 year old or CC 20 or Century 15).

But, it still won't taste like a whiskey aged in new charred oak.

And again, there must be little very long-aged Canadian flavouring whiskey. Most of it is added at much younger ages to the bulked out blends. There may be some to be sure but I've never seen e.g. a 15 or 20 year old Lot 40. And almost no other whisky in Canada tastes like Lot 40 too, the others are ramped-up blends like Dark Horse and Wiser's Legacy.

Anyway, just some thoughts, I don't know what lurks in the warehouses and you never know.

Gary

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I was wondering about the aging effects as well, we have so little experience with long aged American style whisky aged in reuse barrels.

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It could be good and the HW 21 rye mash was, but gee so long in the warehouse, all that whiskey to insure and finance (interest cost) for so long, plus shrinkage. It could perhaps work, but not in the Squire's and my lifetime I think. :)

Certainly all-malt whisky from barley tastes very good at 20 years age in reused wood though, so anything's possible.

Gary

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If you think it's hard to predict sales five years hence, for production planning purposes, imagine trying to predict them 25 years hence.

But I imagine the people who make rye are leaving a few barrels back. On the other hand, Beam makes more rye than anybody else and they've never offered one with much age on it, though it's hard to tell since they don't age-state any of them.

Since rye has been growing from a base of almost nothing, the producers are having even more trouble keeping up with rye demand than with bourbon demand. I doubt any of them have spent much time pondering a future 20-year-old rye.

The real bottom line is that probably if American whiskey keeps selling well and growing, that's the best thing for there being a wide variety of products, including extra-aged ryes if that's what you're into.

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My research on this very site turned up evidence that Saz18 was distilled under contract (with UD??) at what is now BT in '85. Under Sazerac's ownership, BT bought it back around '98.

My palate tells me that BT has been adding younger rye to VWFRR since the 2011 release, which was much better than the bottle I bought in 2010. Last year's release tasted more diluted to me, which makes me think more of it was made up of 13yo BT rye. I still think it's fabulous though.

No doubt aged ryes are a dying breed, and when we do see them again, they will have been produced in a different era and will likely taste different than the '80s-90s distilled stuff we are privileged to drink today. Oh, and did anyone mention they'll be a whole lot more expensive too?

I don't think the Saz18 and VWFRR labels are going anywhere, but the juice will change. There's just no getting around it. Stock up if it's not too late!

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There's 'aged' and there's 'aged.' Bourbons and ryes north of 15-years-old have always been rare and but for the glut, we never would have had as many as we did. I suspect that, going forward, we will see some ryes up to maybe 12-years-old, just like with bourbons, but not a lot older. Then again, the bigger the industry gets, just like with scotch, the easier it will be to just let a few barrels go to greater age. What I'm confident we'll never see again are the relatively low prices of the glut era.

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Current Van Winkle rye is the tanked COK/Medley vatting and they are hoping BT has sufficiently aged rye for them once it runs out.

Is the BT juice earmarked for VWFRR the same as the THH? If so, that's at least 3-4 potential bottlings with the same distillate (Current: THH, BabySaz - Future: Saz18, VWFRR)?

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What I'm confident we'll never see again are the relatively low prices of the glut era.

A dusty memory now, at least I was there.

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What I'm confident we'll never see again are the relatively low prices of the glut era.
Edited by portwood
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mrmountainhop

quote_icon.png Originally Posted by cowdery viewpost-right.png

What I'm confident we'll never see again are the relatively low prices of the glut era.

A dusty memory now, at least I was there.
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Balcones Winston

They are bottling BT rye as VW rye now. It's pretty distinct when you try an older batch compared to a recent one.

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Balcones Winston
Well, keep on keeping on I say bc it's still just great stuff!

I'm not complaining (with exception to the rising price) because it's still pretty good whiskey.

But the older stuff is better.

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tigerlam92
They are bottling BT rye as VW rye now. It's pretty distinct when you try an older batch compared to a recent one.

How did you come by this information. Did I missed this discussion?

http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11744

Above thread has a lot of good information but I had the impression that Julian is metering out the VW rye until 2017 when the BT rye is ready (see post by Chuck)

Thanks

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