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Reintroduction To Rye


HoustonNit
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I'd like to work my way back into trying rye whiskeys. I actually found my love of bourbon through rye first. Started getting into rye as I had some old fashions and manhattans at bars and wanted to start to make my own. Through exploring online found out that the best versions of these cocktails contain rye. Went through a bunch of different rye at the time making mixed drinks. Liked Sazerac at the time but it was close to $30 in those days and could get JB rye or Old Overholt for half the price back then which where fine for cocktails. Now Saz has gone down in price while the other two are are around $20. Rittenhouse was super hot at the time and hard to get, when I finally got it, didn't live up to the hype. Also had WT and bulleit ryes which I thought where ok.

 

Would like to get another bottle thinking Rittenhouse or Saz as a reintroduction to rye mostly for cocktails but to also try neat. If I like it neat will try something from high west or maybe Willet. Any thoughts or suggestions?

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OldFitzWithTheGoldLabel

I enjoy High West Double Rye, and it isn't very expensive. I also enjoy Pikesville Rye, but that is a step up in price. Jim Murray ranked Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye as his #1 Whiskey of 2016. I think it is ok, but I actually like High West Double Rye better. I had Willett Rye and James Pepper Rye at a friend's house and they both tasted good to me, but I think I prefer High West and Pikesville to those ryes.

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Is Pikesville 6 yr old heaven hill rye? What's the difference between that and Rittenhouse which should have a similar age.

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Rittenhouse is likely just at 4 yrs old.  Pikesville is 110 proof, compared to Ritt's 100.  Big difference between the two whiskies, IMO.  

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bourbon4all

Rye whiskeys have a ton of variance between them and the only way to figure out what your taste buddies prefer is to try them. That being said I can't really help on the cocktail side of things but my recent pours (which were all very enjoyable drank neat) were High West Double Rye, Wild Turkey 101 Rye, Russell Reserve 6, Pikesville, and Knob Creek Rye. I tend to grab things when they are on sale and in my opinion you cant go wrong with any of these.

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Another fair and inexpensive representation of MGP rye is readily available in Dickel.  QPR wise, I don't think you can go wrong with KC, WT101, baby Saz, or the Ritt.  As others have noted; Taylor, Pikesville, and WTRR are also good ryes, but significant steps up in cost.

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4 hours ago, HoustonNit said:

Would like to get another bottle thinking Rittenhouse or Saz as a reintroduction to rye mostly for cocktails but to also try neat. If I like it neat will try something from high west or maybe Willet. Any thoughts or suggestions?

 

 

I think your general strategy of starting with the lower-priced options before moving to more expensive bottles is wise; however, if you don't like the first bottle or two you buy, I hope you won't be too discouraged to continue trying other ryes. As bourbon4all said, there's a lot of taste diversity in ryes. And as smokinjoe pointed out, even Rittenhouse and Pikesville are very different despite both being produced by HH. Maybe this goes without saying, but to find what you like, you'll have to not only know what you like (and don't), but what exactly you like (or don't like) about it. From there, it's possible to use the search function or ask additional advice here to find a rye you enjoy.

 

Also, not sure how long it has been since you've had Rittenhouse, but it changed sources about four years ago (from being contract-distilled by BF to being produced at HH) and it has a slightly different profile now. More info in this thread if you're interested:

 

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8 hours ago, smokinjoe said:

Rittenhouse is likely just at 4 yrs old.  Pikesville is 110 proof, compared to Ritt's 100.  Big difference between the two whiskies, IMO.  

 

Yes I agree, though I haven't done a side by side, Rittenhouse is a pretty basic pour that is heavy on the sweetness with not much complexity. Good in certain mixed drinks but not really a contemplative sipper. Still, at $20 it's hard to really complain about it.

 

Pikesville on the other hand is more complex and interesting, and the sweetness is better balanced. I would say it is one of the best ryes in this price point (~$50), though I prefer Whistlepig 10 year which I can sometimes find around $55 if I shop around online. Whistlepig frequently sells for about $70 which is too much IMO.

 

Getting up to $60-70 or so I really, really like Russell's Reserve Single Barrel, though that is somewhat hard to find. High West Rendezvous and Bourye are quite good in this price range too. HWR can sometimes be found closer to $50 which is a no-brainer.

 

For some better value picks, the Russell's Reserve 6 year rye is quite good for $30 or so, not as interesting as the SB but certainly a better value. George Dickle is a solid 95% MGP rye that can usually be found for under $30. High West Double Rye is a good value as well, but a bit rough and young - though that has a certain appeal as well and it holds up well in cocktails. Sazerac is a good value too but not as interesting IMO as Dickle or HWDR in this price range. Saz is a 51% rye and drinks more like a Bourbon than some of the higher rye % products on the market.

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Thanks guys for the advice. I believe I've seen Dickel around for under $30 will try to get this to start off with if not, will go with Rittenhouse. I can also find Rendezvous for around $50 which I think will be a good second choice.

I believe I can get this as well locally if they still have the bottle for about $38.

http://thewhiskeyjug.com/rye-whiskey/high-west-double-rye-boulevardier-finish-review/

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Heck, if you are going with the rendezvous, you can skip the Dickel and double rye

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The Koval rye is very good (Spec's carries it) as well as Russell's Reserve Single Barrel Rye. Those are my two current favorites.

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I want buy something like Dickel first before the rendezvous.

I keep looking at the redemption at $10 more than dickel yet aged less than 1 year vs 4 years plus

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I keep looking at the redemption at $10 more than dickel yet aged less than 1 year vs 4 years plus

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Yeah but redemption has such a cool story.'
It's things like this that me glad l found this site.
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