The Booze Bag: The Road to Rye
I have been noticing a trend as companies such as Bulliet and Knob Creek, better known for their award winning bourbons, have been launching their own product lines of Rye Whiskey. This overlooked spirit seems to be making a comeback. I always assumed it was bourbon’s harsher hillbilly cousin and simply avoided it. I admit I really didn’t know much more about it than, ” them good old boys were drinking it and whiskey” in Don Maclean’s famous song “American Pie”.
Spicier and less lean than bourbon, I was shocked to learn that Rye was once the most popular whiskey in the country prior to Prohibition.
(1)”Made from a mash of fermented rye grain—often with barley, —rye whiskey has a more assertive flavor than the rounder, sweeter bourbon, and its taste inspired the creation of some of the most regal cocktails in mixology, such as the Sazerac and the Manhattan. Ten years ago, only a small handful of rye whiskies existed, but thanks to a growing interest in bourbon and other whiskies, bartenders and curious drinkers are increasingly seeking out the lost flavor of rye.”
(2) “As bourbon gained popularity beyond the southern United States, bartenders increasingly substituted it for rye in cocktails like Whiskey Sours, Manhattans, and Old Fashioneds, which were initially made only with rye. All other things being equal, the character of the cocktail will be drier with rye.”
I decided to dip my toe in the Rye pool instead of jumping straight in with Redemption High Rye Bourbon …. Clocking in at 38% rye grain, it is still technically a bourbon albeit one with a higher than normal percentage of rye. ( A half step on the Road to Rye if you will)
So, how does it stack up? It definitely kicks bourbon’s normal mellow edge up a notch. It is noticeably “spicy” but the sweetness that one typically associates with bourbon is still there in the aftertaste. I would recommend sipping it over ice and perhaps following it with a chaser, or mixing it with cola and drinking. I think it would also give any cocktails where you would normally add bourbon a little extra zip! I don’t think it will replace regular bourbon as my go to whiskey of choice, but Redemption High Rye is fantastic and it was a nice gateway liquor as I make my way along the road to Rye .
Redemption High-Rye Bourbon
Straight American Bourbon Whiskey
(3)”We think you can never have too much rye, so our High-Rye Bourbon mash-bill approaches the upper limit of allowable rye grain in a bourbon mash-bill. Bottled at 92 proof the dry spiciness of the rye balances the sweetness of the corn for a really wonderful sipping experience on its own or in classic cocktail recipes.
38.2% Premium Rye
1.8% Barley Malt
(1) http://www.imbibemagazine.com/The-Comeback-Kid-Rye-Whiskey (2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rye_whiskey (3) http://www.redemptionrye.com/