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Henry

Rye Virgin

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Henry

As a bourbon lover but rye virgin, I am tempted by the new Sazerac 18. Is it as good as everyone says? Of course, I could start with Old Overholt to see if rye does it for me, but am tempted to go for something really special right off the bat. How good is Sazerac?

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Guest **DONOTDELETE**

Hi Henry! Whereya been? We missed you!

You said,"...I am tempted by the new Sazerac 18. Is it as good as everyone says?"

Yes.

"...Of course, I could start with Old Overholt to see if rye does it for me, but am tempted to go for something really special right off the bat."

Old Overholt *is* something special; don't let the low price fool you. It's flavor profile pretty much defines one end of the rye spectrum. If you like it, Lot No. 40 (from Canada, but worthy of any collection) is even more so. I recommend it highly. Sazerac is at the other end of the rye spectrum, and a really outstanding example of that style. If you like that better, Old Rip Van Winkle 12-year-old Rye goes even further in that direction. The others fall in between these two and there's quite a bit of variety.

=John=

http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

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Henry

Thanks John. And how would you describe the two ends of the rye flavor spectrum?

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Guest **DONOTDELETE**

Poorly. That's what Linn's here for. :-))

Rye grain has a sharp flavor, which you can taste in rye bread and in bourbons like Old Grand Dad with lots of rye in the mashbill. In bourbon, that "bite" offsets the sweetness of the corn and highlights the carmel and vanilla flavors extracted from the oak barrels. Many bourbon afficianados practically rate the whole bourbon on the way the rye comes on. In straight rye whiskey, of course, that flavor is more pronounced. Those ryes on the Sazerac/VanWinkle12 end emphasize the rye "bite" at the surface, with the depth and complexity of the full flavor making them the fine examples that they are. At the Overholt/Lot40 end, the rye flavor is there, but there is both a sweetness and a "creaminess" that is very different. So different, in fact, that if you had only two bottles of rye -- OldRipVanWinkle 12-year-old and Lot No. 40 -- it would be hard to believe they were considered the same kind of liquor.

=John=

http://w3.one.net/~jeffelle/whiskey

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Guest **DONOTDELETE**

Don't sell yourself short there Golden Dudester you did just fine! I don't have much experiance with straight rye whiskey, but of thoes few that I have tried I like Old Overholt right well. I've just *got* to get up your way and impose upon you to make use of your lushly appointed whiskey reaserch facility!

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

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RyanStotz

> Is it as good as everyone says?

Better. This is just one drunk kid's opinion, but it's not only the best American whiskey I've ever tasted, but it's at least as good if not better than any whisk(e)y I've ever tasted, period, with only 1974 Longrow possibly matching it. Considering I've had around 1,500 (and only one of those was Heaven Hill Ultra Deluxe), that's saying something. The complexity is so expansive; there are a lot of flavors in there, but unlike a lot of other, tighter whiskeys (of which this should be one at 18 years old), those flavors are very distinct and easy to pick out on the nose, on the palate and in the finish. Go ahead and get one. If you don't like it, I will personally refund your money.

Stotz

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Guest **DONOTDELETE**

OK Ryan Now I want one too!

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

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Henry

Thanks for talking me into buying a bottle, Ryan. What a testimonial! I'm still becoming acquainted with it, but this is clearly a superior whiskey. While I don't know if I'll become a rye convert (I miss the bourbon sweetness) the Sazerac is certainly a delicious change of pace.

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RyanStotz

Henry:

"Thanks for talking me into buying a bottle, Ryan. What a testimonial!"

Don't thank me, thank the Sazerac folks. They're responsible for provoking that testimonial from me.

"I'm still becoming acquainted with it, but this is clearly a superior whiskey."

There's a lot in there with which to acquaint oneself. About halfway through my first bottle right now and it's still giving up new traces of flavor. You really can tell that a lot of care (not to mention some good luck) went into the quality of the whiskey rather than just the packaging (which obviously required some work itself).

"While I don't know if I'll become a rye convert (I miss the bourbon sweetness) the Sazerac is certainly a delicious change of pace."

I understand what you mean. Most ryes (and I'll include Old Grand-Dad BIB here since it's as much a rye as most ryes) are still sweet, but it's more a suggestion or essence of sweetness rather than the pleasant corn assault of bourbon. Often times the sweetness comes on in the finish and comes on big. Both (all, if you want to include the Hirsch) the Van Winkle ryes do this. As someone who came to bourbon through Old Charter Proprietors Reserve and Wild Turkey Rare Breed, I too tended toward the sweetness of bourbon, but once I "got" rye, boy did I "get" it. I think you'll find it a pleasant pursuit.

Stotz

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rwilps

Ryan,

That's exactly right - it's the dry, dark-chocolate quality that keeps bringing me back to rye. You know, that allows the whiskeys you mentioned to be better company for food or a fine smoke than many of the near-cloying bourbons on the market. Have you ever heard of an old PA rye called Sam Thompson - it would narrow your eyes, but in a smooth way...

Ralph Wilps

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RyanStotz

Ralph:

"Have you ever heard of an old PA rye called Sam Thompson"

I have, and was even excited to find a place that sold it, until I found out that I'd found Old Thompson, a crappy American blend.

Stotz

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cowdery

Isn't "crappy American blend" redundant?

--Chuck Cowdery

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RyanStotz

> Isn't "crappy American blend" redundant?

Sadly, yes. Why the Scots have figured out how to blend straight whisky with neutral grain spirits to make some phenomenal blended whisky and us 'merkins haven't is beyond me. Of course they've had a little head start, but not that much.

Stotz

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Guest **DONOTDELETE**

Sorry to drift a little off-topic here, but this a question that I've been curious about lately. Are there NO good American blends? None? Zero? Zip? Zilch?

Everytime I walk into the nearest liquor store I see at least a half dozen different American blended brands, all buried in the back somewhere. Surely SOMEONE's drinking them.

Just wondering,

doug

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RyanStotz

Doug:

"Are there NO good American blends? None? Zero? Zip? Zilch?"

If you're willing to accept a loose definition of American, I can handle Seagram Seven Crown, which is a blend of American and (I think) some Canadian spirits, but is classified by Seagram as American. I don't know about "good," but perfectly acceptable in my book.

Stotz

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cowdery

The blended whiskeys of Canada and Scotland are blends of several straight aged whiskeys. Canadians can add some flavoring spirits, but I don't know the exact regulations.

American blends are completely different. They are a throwback to the old days of "rectified whiskeys," concoctions containing mostly neutral spirits and flavorings and little or no mature whiskey. Here is the legal definition:

"Blended whisky" (whisky--a blend) is a mixture which contains straight whisky or a blend of straight whiskies at not less than 20 percent on a proof gallon basis, excluding alcohol derived from added harmless coloring, flavoring or blending materials, and, separately, or in combination, whisky or neutral spirits.

An American blend is 20 percent whiskey, 80 percent whiskey helper. It is a whiskey meatloaf. It's meat-like, it contains meat, but it's no filet mignon. I haven't done a serious tasting of them, an odious assignment.

If you are someplace where only blended whiskey is available, have a beer. If you must drink the stuff, at least have a manhattan.

--Chuck Cowdery

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cowdery

I don't think American blends merit any serious consideration. They taste however the boys in the lab want them to taste. I would be interested in a blend of American straight whiskeys, made the way Canadians and Scotches are, but there aren't any.

Of course, we could make them ourselves at home, e.g., the stateliness of Woodford Reserve balanced by the insouciance of Fighting Cock, finished with a little Sazerac Rye. I'm making myself thirsty.

--Chuck Cowdery

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Guest **DONOTDELETE**

I heard that Ancient Age makes a blend that is very good. I've been looking for it for a few months now and haven't been able to find it anywhere in town (Las Vegas). I know I could order it, but it seems silly to spend $10 to ship a $8 whiskey. Anyone seen or tried this?

John A. Dube

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Ken Weber

You are speaking of Ancient Age Preferred. It is available only in a few markets around the country.

Ken

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Guest **DONOTDELETE**

Do you know which markets it is available in?

John A. Dube

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Ken Weber

Sorry to have missed this inquiry. AA Perferred can be found in TN, LA, TX and possibly in neighboring states.

Ken

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broray

I too am a virgin to the rye. Last Saturday two of my friends and I tried tasting Turkey and VanWinkle. Both were xcellant, but the turkey won out. I am on to tasting more. Any recommendations?

The Man from Missouri

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MashBill

While not in the same league as those you tasted (in my opinion for all it's worth....), give Old Overholt and Jim Beam Rye a try. They are both good ryes, inexpensive, and pretty easy to find. You could do much worse.

You didn't mention which Van Winkle you tried. He bottles a 12 year old and a 13 year old. They are both excellent. You should also try Sazerac 18 year old, and Lot 40 (a Canadian pot stilled rye imported by McCormick).

Heaven Hill also bottles a couple of ryes, but I have not tried them.

Bill

http://home.kc.rr.com/mashbill/

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broray

VanWinkle 13yr. I will try the others you mentioned. I have to float a loan to purchase the Sazerac and the Lot 40 though. On to tying new adventures.

The Man from Missouri

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