Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Tuesday Tasting: Six Rye Whiskeys
Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we try a half dozen rye whiskeys.
The March/April issue of DRAFT magazine includes a Drinking Buddies feature that I wrote about rye whiskey. Rye is in the midst of a pretty amazing revival. Rye is a major blending component for Bourbon, but now many people are looking for ryes to experience them in their own right. It is very flavorful liquor and is great straight or as a cocktail component.
To be a rye, the whiskey must contain at least 51 percent rye whiskey and be aged in new charred oak barrels. Straight rye does not mean 100 percent rye is used, it signifies the whiskey has been aged for at least two years.
Here are some of the ryes tasted for the article:
Thomas H. Handy Sazerac: Part of Buffalo Trace Distillery’s Antique Collection this uncut and unfiltered straight rye was aged for more than six years. At 127.5 proof, the copper colored whiskey has bright, spicy nose. Nice wood and herbal flavors mix with an overall nutty quality.
(ri)1 Kentucky Straight Rye: A new 92-proof whiskey with a light copper color, this rye starts off with a herbal scent and delivers a direct wood and hazelnut flavor profile that finishes with just a hint of smoke.
Rittenhouse Famous Straight Rye: Said to be made in a “Pennsylvania style” this 80 proof whiskey has a spicy nose and copper color. There are sweet notes upfront, with a nice amount of oak throughout and a touch of pepper at the finish.
Russell Reserve Rye: A golden color that is lighter than most ryes, this six year old 90 proof whiskey has a mellow, slightly sweet nose. The base of the rye is a mixture of oak, caramel and citrus.
Sazerac Straight Rye: Copper colored 90-proof whiskey that starts off with an attractive sweet nose. The flavor bed has notes of oak and almond, with a light touch of peppery spice in the finish.
Templeton Rye: This 80 proof rye from Iowa is a small batch product said to be made from using a Prohibition-era recipe favored by the Capone gang in Chicago. It has a slightly floral aroma and a sweet, attractive flavor bed.