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Help, just can't get into Rye


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Is there a Rye for me? It's like a close cousin to Bourbon, but I just don't like it. Tried almost all the popular ones. To me it tastes like fake thin bourbon. One, I think dads hat? tasted like medicine! Love bourbon and am a wheater for sure, but like some rye leaned like Knob Creek. OGD is my least favorite bourbon, as it has high rye content.

I am not trying to offend anyone. If you like rye,great! Am I missing something?  Is there a rye that I might like, or do some bourbon lovers not like it either?

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You're not alone. I have yet to taste a rye I like better than an average tasting bourbon. I've had bartenders give me countless free pours of rye once I tell them I'm just not into it like I'm into bourbon. If I can exclude ryes from my whiskey hunting and just enjoy the various single malts and bourbon, I'm okay with that. I don't need to force it.

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I like ryes like WT101, Pikesville, and Rittenhouse BiB and high rye bourbons like OGD and 4R, but I’m less of a fan of the ~95% ryes. If you don’t like them then don’t force yourself to drink them. There are plenty of low rye bourbons to occupy your time and $. Drink what you enjoy, not what you feel obligated to drink. I’m in the minority that likes 10yr and less bourbons more than >11yr.  

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Have you tried High West Double Rye? It has a great taste as does the rendezvous but I like the cheap double rye better.  I dont like the whistle pig ryes much at all I can see if you start with one you dont like , it may be tough to see the draw. I would put the High West Ryes in my list of favorite bottles of any kind. 

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And here I thought it was just me.  :huh: No, you aren't alone cd. I just can't seem to get into ryes much either. They don't suck, but something about 'em just doesn't suit my tastes. 

 

Sláinte! Joe

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While I tend to gravitate towards bourbon, I quite like a nice rye. The market is flooded with young rye from the major distillers and even younger rye from various craft joints, most of it just isn't particularly great, some of it is downright bad (most of the craft stuff). The longer rye sits in a barrel, the more Bourbon-y it tends to get, so try to seek out some stuff with some age on it if you haven't. Rye has really boomed recently, and there has been somewhat of an industry wide shortage, which means for the same price range, you're generally going to be drinking a younger rye than you would bourbon. While a standard $25 NAS bottle of Buffalo Trace is probably 7-8 years old, a typical NAS rye is likely in the 2-4 year range. This means that finding a proper age stated rye will generally cost you quite a bit more than a bourbon too.

 

Saying that, it's possible rye just isn't your thing - and that's fine. I can't really get into Heaven Hill, Beam, or Dickle Bourbons myself.

 

There's a whole range of ryes that are inexpensive and great in cocktails, which is why bartenders love them. Rittenhouse, Old Overholt, Dickle, Baby Sazerac, High West Double Rye, etc - all of these make a fine drink but I don't enjoy them on their own.

 

Here are some ryes that are definitely not thin, and which I personally tend to like neat:

 

Pikesville 110, this is the easiest to find and at 51% rye, perhaps the most accesible as well

Russell's Reserve Single Barrel, the standard 6 year Russell's Reserve isn't bad either, but at 104 proof the SB cranks it up a couple notches

Whistlepig 10 year, especially the store pick barrel proof versions

Masterson's 10 year, Lock Stock and Barrel 13 & 16 year - the LSB have the same flavor profile as the Masterson's, but a bit more age on them

High West Rendevous

High West Bourye, more like a really high rye bourbon, but the youngest this tends to be is 9 years old.

 

The HW stuff is lower proof than the rest, so it's a bit easier going, aside from the Double Rye, which is young, firey and very forward on the rye grain. Some people love that punch in the face of rye, the rustic and rough sort of thing, but if you're on the fence about rye that wouldn't be my recommendation.

 

You could try one of the high rye Four Roses private selection bottles too. In my experience these blow away the regular small batch and single barrel 4R releases. If you see a 9-10 year OBSK grab it! While only 30% rye, this drinks more like a rye than a bourbon but for all the right reasons. Just awesome stuff.

Edited by EarthQuake
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You all can just think of me as the "goodwill" donation center for your unwanted ryes.  PM for address.  I'll even give you a receipt for tax purposes.  

J/K.  :P

Can't get enough rye some days.

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Surprising to see so many of the regulars are not rye fans. I personally can't imagine how this is possible for a bourbon drinker, but life is full of wonders :)

 

I suppose if you try a trio like Pikesville, HW, Whistle Pig and still don't come around, there is no point forcing yourself.

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Government Beard

I like rye. I just like bourbon better.

 

The change of pace that rye brings - the spice, the dill, the piney winter fresh type of taste that it brings is interesting. I can understand not liking it though. Once you've honed into bourbon rye can be a little abrupt. 

 

Enjoy!

 

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I think finding out (and admitting) what you don’t like is just as important as finding out what you do like and sticking with it. I have seen people go through this seeming frustration with wine, Scotch, beer, etc. 

 

Over the last year, I have tried many things based upon reviews and suggestions. Sometimes I felt there was something wrong with me because I did not like something I was “supposed” to. Through the process, I have found several everyday pours that I like and some special expressions I research and target. I’m open to trying other things, I just have mellowed on the pressure I put on myself. 

 

Knowing what I  like, and liking what I know, while maintaining an open mind to try things is my niche right now. This making things more enjoyable for me. 

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1 hour ago, graftonbc1 said:

I think finding out (and admitting) what you don’t like is just as important as finding out what you do like and sticking with it. I have seen people go through this seeming frustration with wine, Scotch, beer, etc. 

 

Over the last year, I have tried many things based upon reviews and suggestions. Sometimes I felt there was something wrong with me because I did not like something I was “supposed” to. Through the process, I have found several everyday pours that I like and some special expressions I research and target. I’m open to trying other things, I just have mellowed on the pressure I put on myself. 

 

Knowing what I  like, and liking what I know, while maintaining an open mind to try things is my niche right now. This making things more enjoyable for me. 

This.  Count it as a win that you've identified what you don't like so you can make more informed purchase decisions.  

 

I don't like really old bourbon (much over 14 yrs with some exceptions just taste like chewing on a stave).  Heck - I don't like PVW (assuming my first/last bottle of PVW20 must have been bad since it didn't result in insta-orgasm).  

 

I love rye though :)  

 

BUT - I would say that you should consider revisiting what you don't like periodically.  There were things I didn't care for the first couple times I tried them (like Bookers, and nearly any scotch), but over time our tastes can change. I now find myself enjoying Scotch as much (maybe more?) than bourbon.  If you've got bottles of rye you've already bought/paid for, I'd set them aside and maybe revisit them once a year.  But don't try to force yourself to like it if you don't.  It's all about having fun!

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48 minutes ago, GaryT said:

This.  Count it as a win that you've identified what you don't like so you can make more informed purchase decisions.  

 

I don't like really old bourbon (much over 14 yrs with some exceptions just taste like chewing on a stave).  Heck - I don't like PVW (assuming my first/last bottle of PVW20 must have been bad since it didn't result in insta-orgasm).  

 

I love rye though :)  

 

BUT - I would say that you should consider revisiting what you don't like periodically.  There were things I didn't care for the first couple times I tried them (like Bookers, and nearly any scotch), but over time our tastes can change. I now find myself enjoying Scotch as much (maybe more?) than bourbon.  If you've got bottles of rye you've already bought/paid for, I'd set them aside and maybe revisit them once a year.  But don't try to force yourself to like it if you don't.  It's all about having fun!

Your suggestion about revisiting things is a very good one. The first time I tasted Elijah Craig basic, I wondered what anybody saw in it. Now I have five bottles in my cabinet and it is my go to. By the same token, there is a barrel proof bourbon that many people live and search for. I have one and have tried to love it. I finally had to admit after several tries, I don’t like it. It makes a great marinade, though. 

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I'm not this biggest rye fan either, but, try Jim Beam Rye.  It is a barely legal rye with a mash bill of 51% rye.  In my opinion, it is very bourbon-like with a spicy bite.  Not earth-shaking, but, it is a cheap 4-year rye with a decent proof.

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You say you've tried "most of the popular ones"... I don't know what that means so I'll make a suggestion anyway! :D My first rye was Bulleit and it put me off rye for a few years; I thought it was awful and figured Rye wasn't for me.  Then by chance my first BTAC opportunity ever was a THH... I was a little disappointed to get a Rye... until I tasted it. WOW! Loved it, so I started buying a few of the Ryes mentioned on here, Rittenhouse, Baby Saz, a couple MGP sourced, they were all okay, but nothing to write home about in my eyes.  Then I tried Pikesville. It was on sale for $35 so I grabbed one. That was a good price, but I didn't know whether I would like it so I tasted it in the parking lot and again, WOW! I went right back inside and bought another. It is second only to THH IMHO, but for $35 (haven't seen it for that price since) on a winter evening or by a campfire it is pretty damn tasty. Very Bourbon-esque, nice full flavor, nice warmth, a little sweet, but definitely rye. 

 

It sounds like our experiences are similar, so if you haven't already, I'd say give the Pikesville a try before you give up on Ryes altogether, and as already mentioned, if you don't care for it right away hold on to it because chances are this time next year you'll have a different opinion.

 

If you've already tried Pikesville, disregard everything I've said. For a few months... then give it another go!  :D

Cheers!

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I second or third the suggestions to try baby saz and pikesville 110. These are very mellow ryes to me, at least in flavor. The pikesville is surely a good mouth punch for proof. The saz is fruity or floral to me. The pikesvile is more sweet. My favorite is also THH but I wouldn’t spend for that if you’re not sure you’ll like it, though you might find it in a bar. EHT rye is also really nice, but again, too pricey to try if you don’t like rye. It sounds like you’ve done your homework and tried a few. If you don’t like it, that’s ok 

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Whiskeythink.com

I did not like rye much until I had Old Potrero, & that turned me around. But I can still be on the fence about them & my experience is limited. I do have to admit that I sometimes love the sweet Hubba Bubba taste in Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye.

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Thank you all for the well thought out suggestions. I have tried baby saz and if I had to pick a favorite, or in my case the one that's tastes ok, that would be it. My wife and I have a similar like in bourbon and yet she loves rye. So, go figure. A poster suggested I try an older rye. Maybe I can do that. I am glad that there are others here who can't appreciate it either. Makes me feel I am ok. Rye is very popular now. Is it bourbon drinkers drifting over, or first time whiskey drinkers trying the new thing?

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22 hours ago, JTaylor said:

but I didn't know whether I would like it so I tasted it in the parking lot...

I love the honesty in this place. Not picking on your or being judgemental just commenting on a cool, crisp fall morning - coffee cup in hand. And your reviews were spot on. I went into my ABC knowing they had just gotten in a one time offering of Baby Saz and while the clerk was fetching it from the back I saw 3 bottles of Pikesville on the shelf. I was doing a lot of internal debating between the 2 not having tried either but knowing they were both highly regarded. I ended up with the Saz only because of its limited availability while there were plenty of Pikesville on the shelf. And I must say that the Baby Saz is delicious. The subtle rye kick this provides is a nice variation from the typical bourbons I enjoy.

 

BTW - I tried a mini of JD Rye. It was awful.

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14 hours ago, cdcdguy said:

Rye is very popular now. Is it bourbon drinkers drifting over, or first time whiskey drinkers trying the new thing?

The answer is yes! All of the above. Some of it has been that rye is getting "fashionable" much as bourbon started doing 6-7 years ago. Rye barely survived the glut era and it was typically made only a few days out of the year even by the big distilleries 15 or 20 years ago. Production has increased in recent years just as it has for bourbon but it will take time to catch up and there is a bit of a void at present in older ryes as much of it was bought up and sold faster than it could be replaced.

 

On this board many people are both bourbon and rye drinkers although as you have seen there are still plenty of people who like one more than the other. I like them both but find that the very young rye (and bourbon) made today, especially at the small distillery level, not particularly appealing for me. Some show potential though and hopefully will be allowed to age a bit more to see how they evolve!

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I was a bourbon sipper until one day at the local ABC store I noticed Pikesville Rye, felt that the proof level was a fit for me, and I bought it on a whim. I tried it that night, quite prepared to not like it (never had tried a Rye before) , and found it very similar to a bourbon, as others here have said, except for the spiciness. I really enjoyed that spiciness and felt that Pikesville was like a bourbon with some hot sauce added. I've gone the rounds of Rye since then and even enjoy the really spicy ones like James E. Pepper Barrel Proof. I had two bottles of bourbon left when that happened, and I gave them away. It has been nothing but Rye since. All of this may speak more to my personality than to the comparative tastiness of Rye, but I am happy. I would add that somebody who finds no fancy with Pikesville 110 Rye probably will not wind up a Rye sipper. I'm glad I did.

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If your looking to aquire a taste for Rye.  I would say to start the introduction with Rye based Manhattans. The vermouth and bitters will round it out a bit and acclimate your palate to the spiciness of  a rye.  Then revisit at a later date.  I was never a big fan of Ryes but, went on a Manhattan kick for a few months then tried it again and have been a fan since. 

 

As for Ryes.  Jefferson's Rye, Willett, Whistle Pig 10, Russells and Mastersons are good places to start.  Enjoy!

Edited by GreggJ
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To each his own.  If we all liked the same thing then there likely wouldn't be many choices.  At any rate, I'm a rye lover, and one of those rare ones that doesn't get into the wheaters.  I guess it's just my taster.  To me rye tastes bright, sweet and spicy, and most wheaters taste like old varnish.  Lots of good suggestions on ryes to try already given, so just chimed in to say we don't all like the same stuff and that's a good thing.

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