Rye is coming back. Well, it was never gone; it simply lay dormant. In the last few years we have seen an escalation in popularity with this grain whether it is in bread, beer, or most relevant to this post, whiskey. Rye tends to cut the sweetness of the Bourbon down a bit, allowing for its spicy, herbal, and often minty characteristics to present themselves. Here, we take a look at a few high-rye Whiskeys that have a larger concentration of the grain while still being principally corn-based.
A new player in the whiskey game goes by the name “Tin Cup” and is distilled in Colorado. It smells of candy corn, lemony citrus, dark sugars, prickly rye spices of clove, and finishes a bit herbal on the back-end. The nose translates really nicely as it is smooth with sweeter notes on the tip of the tongue. Rye comes through and really rounds out the flavors on the palate. Nice herbal and spice balance. It is very easy to drink, and is a great introduction to rye flavors. I would drink this neat or on the rocks.
Something neat that our store does from time to time is that a distillery will leave us with a dozen or so samples of their Bourbon, and we taste through them and decide what which we like best. After a few months of anxious waiting, we receive the bottles. As we have done before, for good reason, we were able to work with Four Roses to create a product unique to our store. The one I recommend is Four Roses Beltramo’s Barrel Strength ($62.99), which comes out at twenty percent rye, and has spent an average of ten and a half years in barrels. Smelling this Bourbon is quite enjoyable. Mexican brown sugar, a nuanced florality, dried dark fruits, and even almonds.
This is a big, full bodied Bourbon. The rye spice comes through in a fairly astringently spicy manner, with an oily sweetness that coats the tongue. A bit hot, which is understandable as it rests at 116 proof, but it drinks remarkably well on its own. The finish is long, fruity, and on the sweeter end of things. This is great on its own, but an ice cube takes the edge off a bit and opens the flavors.
Bulleit 10 year ($34.99) is quite a delicious adjunct that is not seen as often as the original. The nose is not as powerful as I expected, but I get a good amount of leather, tobacco, and some darker spices. The flavor come across as more herbal rye; floral and minty. Not super complex, really tasty, and a great price. It finishes with a dry, medium-to-long finish. This drinks really well on its own, but as I can also see it working in a Manhattan.
Kirill C., Beltramo’s Spirits Staff