Whisky Connosr
Menu
Shop Join

Discussions

Recommended Rye

1 89

@maltster
maltster started a discussion

As I really like Bourbon my next step is Rye - which ones are your Favourites or Recommendations?

7 years ago

Jump to last page

Replies: page 1/3

@SquidgyAsh
SquidgyAsh replied

@maltster Considering that I enjoy both bourbon and rye quite abit I might be a little biased, but one of my favorite bottles for rye would have to be the Rittenhouse 100 Proof. I know quite a few people who compare it to bourbon, while still retaining quite a few Rye like flavors for me. I'm sure the experts will be along soon with some awesome suggestions though:D

7 years ago 1Who liked this?

@OCeallaigh
OCeallaigh replied

I like Rye a lot. Some of my favourites are Rittenhouse 100, Bulleit Rye, High West products, Thomas H Handy, Willet Singel Barrel. Wild Turkey Rye is really not too bad either. @Victor will have something great to say on the subject. hahaha

7 years ago 0

@JoeVelo
JoeVelo replied

I suggest Bulleit 95 Rye. Wonderful rye for the price tag!

7 years ago 1Who liked this?

@maltster
maltster replied

Thank you for your recommendations - I think I will give Rittenhouse 100 Proof a try and also maybe one or two others - what do you think of sazerac Rye?

7 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor replied

@OCeallaigh, @maltster already has my long list of rye related suggestions. I think here he is wanting to know what everybody else thinks. @maltster, did you get those samples you were thinking of? I would like to hear the report on that one. There were some scarce premium ryes among those that you were looking at.

7 years ago 0

@maltster
maltster replied

@victor I'm not sure which samples you are refering to- I was considering a Glengoyne 21 and Bruichladdich and ended up with the 'goyne 21 and a 23 Year old Single cask Isle of Jura which I will open Next Week. I would be definitely interested in your choice of Ryes.

7 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander replied

Definitely the Rittenhouse 100 Proof. But on the Canadian side, try the Wiser's Legacy, it's excellent as well (but completely different)

7 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor replied

@maltster, ok, my mistake. Everything depends on what you have available. Until the last several years it was rare for even most US stores to carry more than one or two ryes, and those were usually the most basic ones: Beam Yellow Label, Old Overholt, Pikesville Supreme, and, maybe, Wild Turkey Rye. Occasionally you would see a Rittenhouse 80 or 100 proof, but even about 5 years ago it was reported that Heaven Hill distilled the Rittenhouse ryes (and the Pikesville Supreme) maybe one day a year. Same thing with Beam distilling the Yellow Label and Old Overholt. Here are my thoughts on the matter. I will comment only on those whiskeys I have actually sampled.

The Best available, if you can get them: Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye, Sazerac 18 Rye, most Rittenhouse 21, 23, 25 yo ryes, most any Willett Rye single barrels, any Old Potrero Rye, especially 18th Century or Hotaling's, certain other special edition ryes, like Abraham Bowman Single Barrel, and Van Winkle 13 yo Family Reserve Rye (the VW least to me of these, but above the next category.)

Solid mid-grade ryes: Rittenhouse 100 proof, all of the High West Rye products (some of these you might consider for the first category), Russell's Reserve 6 yo, Bulleit, Sazerac, Whistlepig, Jefferson's 10 yo, Copper Fox, and Wild Turkey 101. My personal favourites out of this group are Wild Turkey followed by Rittenhouse 100.

Basic, 40% abv ryes: (NB in a good year, these can be very very good. This is not a very good year, unfortunately) Old Overholt, Jim Beam Yellow Label, Pikesville Supreme. These are too dilute for my taste, and I think would be dynamite at barrel strength. They require a particularly spicy batch to overcome the dilution to 40%. Good mixers. There is always hope that they will return to being be quite good in a year or two.

So you can read my taste: I like my ryes focused and with the full big spicy flavours. The only US rye whiskey I actively dislike is Jim Beam's (ri)1, which tastes to me like 30% rye whiskey plus 70% neutral spirits. A lot of people like Lawrentceburg Distillers Indiana products (eg Bulleit, Redemption, part of the vatting of High West) more than I do. LDIs are more rounded and muffled than I prefer. I like them sharp and piquante, analagous to the unmalted barley fraction sharpness of Irish Pot Still whiskey.

And finally, I will put in a plug for my three favourite Canadian whiskies, all of which have a lot of rye character. Wiser's Legacy would go into the top category for me. It is outstanding, and a close relation in style to a US rye. Gibson's Finest Rare 18 yo is another excellent Canadian whisky with a lot of rye character. It would linger for me in a region between the first and second categories. Crown Royal (Special) Reserve is Jim Murray's pick for top Canadian this year. It is extremely flavourful for 40% ABV, and just about the ONLY whisky I have ever tasted that I LIKED which combined both strong rye grain flavours and strong wine finish flavours.

7 years ago 2Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor replied

@talexander, yeah, I was going to mention Wiser's Legacy even if you hadn't!

7 years ago 1Who liked this?

TomH replied

@Victor, I would add a caution to your "best recommendation of Willett rye. Willett has some very different releases. While I would definitely agree with you about their relases of older ryes like the 22 year old that they released about 5 or 6 years ago (which IMHO is one of the best ryes ever released), they have also been released 3-5 YO LDI produced ryes. While I really enjoy these ryes distilled in my home state, I don't think they fall in your "Best" category, especially since you ranked Bulleitt (another LDI rye) in your "Solid" category.

Tom

7 years ago 0

@JeffC
JeffC replied

Of course it depends on what is available in your area, e.g., as much as I would love to try some Scotch blends alas they are only available closer to the source of production in the UK. At least in my part of the US (Virginia) there is a wide variety of ryes in price and quality.

I have not tried too many top shelf ryes. As far as the widely available, everyday drinkers as others have said Rittenhouse Rye BIB 100 proof is usually excellent. I have had a few bottles over the past years and noticed some variation in quality, the first bottle I had was amazing. I did a rewview on it

I also liked the Bulleit Rye and the Sazerac 6 year old although not as much as Rittenhouse. Fortunately I suspect that these two may be widely available elsewhere. Pikesville, Beam Rye and Overholt I have had and were ok but they may not always be available elsewhere, especially the Pikesville.

Finally there are other hard to find things like a 6 year old Willet I have at the moment, jury is still out on that.

7 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor replied

@TomH, I am with you. I was very cautious to use the word "most" with both Willett and Rittenhouse 21+yo, because, while most of their products are excellent, I have had some of each that I wouldn't place in that category. The most predictably and consistently good rye I can recommend is Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey. Sazerac 18 is excellent this 2011 release year. I didn't find 2010's release to be in the same category.

As to Old Potrero 18th Century Style Whiskey? That is a different sort of experience, that may require a little getting used to. Now that I have gotten used to it, I don't want to be without it.

Rittenhouse 100 proof is a very representative and solid straight US rye whiskey.

7 years ago 0

@maltster
maltster replied

Thank you all for sharing your Rye-knowledge. I think I will start with Rittenhouse 100 Proof which is available in Austria and @victor I will be trying to get one of your "Best available" Recommendations on my next trip to Canada/US in the summer (Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye, Sazerac 18 Rye or one of the older Rittenhouses).

7 years ago 0

@CharlieDavis
CharlieDavis replied

If you can locate it, everyone should try Leopold Bros Maryland Style Rye--it is a unique rye in my experience, and actually noses and tastes like rye toast. (Leopold Bros is a colorado local small batch craft distillery: www.leopoldbros.com The rye is newer than their most recent website update.)

Also, if you got $70 clams for your adventures, you might dig WhislePig 100% rye.

7 years ago 0

@Alexsweden
Alexsweden replied

I'm also looking to test a rye whiskey and I'd like to ask for some advice.

I am not particularly fond of bourbon (granted I've only had a few). I don't really like makers mark red, whatever Jack daniel's is i don't like it and bulleit bourbon is drinkable but not exciting. I don't really enjoy the kind of varnishy-charred oak-maple syrup thing that i found mostly in the bulleit.

I have a limited set of options here in Sweden, we're closer to Scotland than the U.S. I guess I'm choosing between Rittenhouse 100 proof and high west rendezvous.

Which one would You recommend? Or should i perhaps save my money towards something else? Thanks!

3 years ago 0

@Alexsweden
Alexsweden replied

DP

These are the ones available systembolaget.se//…

I'm skeptical towards the bulleit rye given the pricetag but it seems to get some good reviews

3 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor replied

@Alexsweden, sounds like you haven't drunk any rye whisky. US Rye is usually dry, baking and black pepper spicy, and may or may not also be dark-fruity. Only fairly rarely are US ryes sweet in the way that most bourbons are sweet.

From what you have available to you, if you want to maximize your chances of enjoyment, go with the High West Rendezvous. Really I think that what you are in the world of Rye whisky is more of a Sazerac 18 kind of man. Hard to get and expensive, though.

Bulleit is a Diageo sourced brand. Bulleit Rye is from MGPI. The Bulleit Bourbon is from Four Roses. No relation. Bulleit Rye is worthwhile, but I've been writing here for 3 years that it can take a very long time to completely open up. When it does it is incredibly fruity. No, none of the artificial wine-fruitiness from re-used wine barrels. The fruitiness is from the rye grain itself. Among the MGPI ryes, other than Willett Family Estate, I suggest the James E. Pepper 1776 Rye. Not on your website, though.

Rittenhouse Rye is solid and well accepted, but it is not the smoothest rye sipper, in my opinion. Fabulous mixer. Wild Turkey 101 Rye and Rittenhouse 100 proof are so popular with US bartenders that they nearly brought back the rye genre completely on their own.

Beam's Knob Creek Rye is also an acceptable introduction to US Rye whiskies.

There are also some very good Canadian rye whiskies, though I am guessing that you don't have much access to them.

3 years ago 0

@Alexsweden
Alexsweden replied

Thank you so much for your suggestions! I might actually be able to get that 1776 rye. However it's not a sure thing. The high west should not pose any problems. This might just be next on my to-do list

3 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor replied

US produced rye whiskey consumption figures in the USA, cited by Whisky Advocate magazine, Spring 2019 edition, on the editorial page:

2010 US produced Rye whiskey consumption: 100,000 cases

2014 US produced Rye whiskey consumption: 545,000 cases

2018 US produced Rye whiskey consumption: 985,000 cases

So there is currently almost ten times the amount of US rye whiskey being consumed in the USA than there was in 2010, which was the year during which I joined Connosr. Growth? You could say that. Even so I think.that knowledge about rye whiskey within the US general population is now just beginning to develop.

How nice it is that Rye whisk(e)y is beginning to be produced all around the world now. Even Amrut is getting into the act.

N.B. that this issue of Whisky Advocate has a nice chart showing the spectrum of US (and some Canadian) whiskeys ordered by rye content, from 10% rye content low rye bourbon to 100% rye content whisk(e)y. I was interested in their differentiation of the new US regional rye style named Empire Rye, for New York State Rye whiskey with a minimum of 75% rye grain content.

3 months ago 6Who liked this?

@cricklewood
cricklewood replied

@Victor thanks for sharing the stats, that growth is astronomical and wasn't without its share of pains I imagine.

The Empire rye project is a good one. A way for New York State distillers to set up a defined style. It has parallels to the Botlled in Bond category, which was a bit of the inspiration by those who spearheaded this empire rye movement.

I spent some time at Kings County Distillery two years ago and learned about this project and the distilling laws in NY state. The state is very progressive, it passed legislation setting the cost of a distilling permit within reason and lots of tax incentives if distilleries of a certain size use a minimum 75% NY state grown grains.

3 months ago 2Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor replied

@cricklewood very interesting! So the Empire Rye 75% rye grain content specification originates in a tax deal with the state government. They need tax deals in NY State. New York State has about the highest taxes in the US.

In the growing pains category, Wild Turkey 101 Rye was completely unavailable in most locations for about 3 years. It is still not again very available yet. It is not sold at all near where I live even now. I loved the old pre-2013 Wild Turkey 101 Rye, but @Nock doesn't like his bottle of one of the newer releases. Not a good sign. His taste and mine are usually pretty close. I haven't tried any of the newer batches myself yet.

3 months ago 2Who liked this?

@cricklewood
cricklewood replied

@Victor actually the legislation is a modification of the farming bill.

They've created several classes of alcoholic manufacturing licenses. Some like the "farm" distiller license are very low (150$) but you can produce no more than 75,000 gallons/year and it must be labeled NY state produced and thus must contain min 75% NY grown grain.

There are more complexities but in a nutshell it's a way for small/medium size distilleries to get off the ground and also supports local agriculture. I think such thinking outside the box would be beneficial for many places.

As for the empire rye category its not just about the ag bill. It genuinely was born of a desire to push for a NY state Rye style, inspired by the BIB category but obviously operating on the min 75% NY grown grain allows more distilleries to join.

3 months ago 4Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor replied

@Astroke very interesting. US rye production has historically been rather low. I imagine that it is increasing now. I do know that local small distilleries around here, the US mid-Atlantic region, source it from local farms in this region. Those are small distillers, though.

@cricklewood oh, I always thought that "Empire Rye" must have been some historical local style which they were reviving, not that anybody in the US had much heard about it until now. You have certainly taken a strong interest in regional US whiskey production!

3 months ago 3Who liked this?

@Nock
Nock replied

@Victor You are correct, I was not a fan of my most recent bottle of Wild Turkey 101 Rye. I will see it on store shelves here in Virginia occasionally (even though it is not officially listed as a product they carry . . . go figure). And the price is I think $46.99 plus tax for a 1 Liter bottle. For that money I would much rather grab either the Rittenhouse Rye 50% for about $26.99 or spring for the Pikesville 6yo 55% at $49.99. Granted, those are both Heaven Hill and I tend to prefer Heaven Hill over Jim Beam and Wild Turkey.

Part of my dislike is that last bottle I bought was down in Myrtle beach. And I picked that up instead of buying more 4 year old Willett at 55% and only $42. Is that a fair comparison? No. But it is that kind of idea that gets into your head and really taints the experience of a bottle.

I guess my summary is that they are asking too much for what it is.

3 months ago 1Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

@Victor, point of interest regarding Rye (Secale cereale). It does not grow at temperatures above 26C (source: Don Livermore). This definitely limits the areas in which it would thrive.

3 months ago 0

@archivist
archivist replied

So happy to see this thread, glad it's been revived if only for a bit so I can go look for some ryes I haven't yet tried! My picks are much along @Victor and thanks to him, but second to my favorite Old Potrero Single Malt Straight Rye would easily be Distillery 291's Single Barrel Rye. I also like Old Forester Straight Rye. And of course, I must mention Lot 40...gave me my first true exposure to great Canadian whiskey relaxed and has me wanting to try more - will need to plan a vacation in the future!

3 months ago 2Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

@archivist, I'm a self proclaimed Rye Hound. This thread does not get nearly enough traffic.

A recently finished bottle of Knob Creek 8 YO Cask Strength (yes, CASK STRENGTH whiskEy), one of the component parts of Little Book 2, is my recommendation for you. This is $100 CDN, but something I'm pleased to have opened my wallet for... and yes, I've picked up WhistlePig single barrel RYE (barrel proof), another of the components that make LB chapter 2.

3 months ago 4Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor replied

@paddockjudge, @archivist here is that Knob Creek Cask Strength Rye at # 2 on Whisky Advocate's Top 20 2018 list:

whiskyadvocate.com/top20/

I own some, but haven't opened a bottle of it yet. I'll get a taste of it for the first time at my sister's house this weekend. Boy oh boy did Beam take its sweet time selling a Barrel Strength Rye. It is about time!

3 months ago 4Who liked this?

@archivist
archivist replied

@paddockjudge @Victor Thank you for the recommendation! I will be adding this to my shop list this weekend and plan to give it a taste sooner than later.

3 months ago 1Who liked this?

Liked by:

@Cardinal

You must be signed-in to comment here

Sign in