Another terrific rye whiskey from James E. Pepper's range, this time bottled at 92 proof (which is 46% ABV for those of us here on this side of the ocean). Makes an excellent Old Fashioned cocktail, but it's more than suitable for enjoying neat.
Maybe there is something in the water. Yes, it plays an oft-overlooked role in the end quality of a whiskey. But to build this level of liquid—and attain this level of recognition—in less than 3 years? Something special is happening here. And it’s only going to get better with age.The American Whiskey Masters is an annual blind tasting conducted by prominent spirits writers in the UK. This distillery cropped up multiple times on the winners list. It’s one that many stateside drinkers of bourbon and rye might have never even heard of, let alone sampled: Blinking Owl, out of Orange County, California.
The producer took home a silver for best bourbon aged up to 7 years. And its rye was awarded gold, out of all rye up to 7 years in age. As if the underdog victory wasn’t impressive enough on its own—the distillery only started laying down its whiskey in February of 2018. In fact, it represents the first ever American whiskies ever distilled in this part of Southern California.
The expert distillers at Bulleit offer us their sweet and fruity Rye offering, adding even more rye into the mix than their traditional bourbon. Bulleit Rye has a mashbill of 95% rye and just 5% malted barley and is produced in small batches, allowing the flavour to really bloom. The nose is awash with sweet cherries and classic vanilla and on the palate you’ll enjoy an intense heat that mellows into a mesh of peaches, cherries, cinnamon and orange zest. A smoky finish is just what’s needed to show a bourbon of true class.
Rittenhouse Rye Whisky 100 proof is a hot and spicy offering which spends six years maturing before bottling. Vibrant cinnamon, black pepper and spicy rye are all prevalent in the nose and they lead into a medium body in which the higher proof is immediately apparent on the tongue. Rich notes of tobacco, cinnamon, clove and brown sugar blend together to create a highly spiced offering with just a touch of sweetness. Sip it slowly.
Sazerac Straight Rye Whisky takes its name from the New Orleans coffee house which was known as the home of the Sazerac cocktail. Without this exceptional whisky, the cocktail would be nowhere near as great. Aromas of vanilla, anise, pepper and clove are released but the flavour is subtler, with candied spice and sweet citrus taking over.
WhistlePig is a fantastic brand of straight rye whisk(e)y which is distilled and initially matured in Canada before being aged further, at the WhistlePig Farm in Vermont. The Master Distiller for WhistlePig is Dave Pickerell, who was the Master Distiller for Maker's Mark for 14 years, (so you know he's good).
Their 10 year old straight rye is made with 100% rye and delivers a full-on flavour profile of clove, mint, barrel char, creamy caramels and butterscotch. Properly excellent stuff.
In late June, Vermont-based WhistlePig came out with 12 Year Old WhistlePig Old World. This whiskey is the final result of an experiment beginning in spring 2014, during which WhistlePig finished a 12-year-old-rye whiskey distilled in Indiana in former Sauternes, Madeira and Port barrels. Each one of these were first released as limited edition, single cask type expressions, and what’s in bottle here is a marriage of those three.
It’s an experiment that’s worked well for WhistlePig, as The Old World Series won the 2015 Double Gold Award for best rye at the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It comes from a mash of 95% rye and 5% malted barley, and as for the blend of the three cask types, brings them together into a harmonious three-way offering that’s 30% Sauternes, 63% Madeira and 7% Port.
The colour is light, reminding me of a fine clover honey. The nose brings slight vanilla, caramel and apple cider. (I couldn’t help but exclaim, “It smells like enchantment!”) I often find rye a bit abrasive, but that’s not the case with the Old World. It’s smooth on the palate, being both easy and a little buttery. Even though Port is represented the least in this trio, I picked up some of the raisin flavuor that I get with it.
To summarise, it’s extremely potable and finishes delightfully.
E.H Taylor is bottled at 100 proof and aged for 11 years in Warehouse C at the Buffalo Trace distillery, which was built by Taylor in 1881 and proved to be an excellent aging warehouse. This is a true testament to the founding father of Bourbon.
Single Barrel Tennessee Rye Whiskey draws its wonderful flavour from a unique 70% rye grain bill, matured to perfection in our handmade oak barrels, positioned in the upper reaches of our barrelhouses. Bottled at 90 proof, this is a big, bold rye that does not overpower. Complex flavours of ripe fruit mingle with light toasted oak notes, allowing the rye grain to shine through, creating a taste rich with spice and a pleasant lingering finish. Enjoy this Single Barrel Rye neat, on the rocks, or in classic rye cocktails.
Canada’s most famous whisky, Canadian Club has a flavour which fans will know all too well and newcomers will certainly learn to love. Its aroma is sweet with warm notes of barley sugar and biting aniseed, alongside vegetal freshness. When you take the first sip it’s surprisingly gentle, a mellow flavour with dark sugar, essence of rum and winter spice coming through. It’s a generally medium-bodied whisky with many pleasing flavour notes to enjoy.
The fourth limited-edition release in WhistlePig's FarmStock series, HomeStock, was created during the world's first virtual crowd blending experience and is made with a combination of rye, wheat and barley whiskies. The palate offers notes of soft vanilla, rye spice, toffee apples and rich coffee.
Straight Rye Whiskey
Distillery Bottling 75cl / 48.28% / 96.56 Proof
PiggyBack is a new WhistlePig bottling entering the current UK lineup. Piggyback Rye is made with 100% rye grains so expect something pretty spicy! It's also been aged a minimum of six years and bottled at a sturdy 48.28%.
We're huge fans of WhistlePig here, and WhistlePig Piggyback Rye is ticking all the boxes - a great sipping whiskey at a great value price that makes it viable for top-class cocktails - this should be epic in a Manhattan.
What did one rye say to the other in a bottle of High West Double Rye!?
"This whiskey sure is big enough for the both of us!"
High West Double Rye! is made by blending two very distinct rye whiskies together, a lively 2-year-old and a sweeter 16-year-old that was made with a higher proportion of corn. It's the kind of idea that makes everyone in the saloon stop and stare, including the old fella playing piano in the corner.
Straight Rye Whiskey
Distillery Bottling 70cl / 45% / 90 Proof
A good quality straight rye American whiskey with a 51% Rye, 45% Corn, 4% Malted Barley mashbill, at 90 US proof (45%) this works well as a sipping whiskey and has enough punch to make its presence felt in Manhattan or Sazerac cocktails.
Ezra Brooks has a long association with Heaven Hill distillery, going back to the early 1990s
American rye whisky is one of America’s original spirits and is the key ingredient in many classic cocktails including the Manhattan, the old fashioned and New York sour. American rye must be made from at least 51% rye grain, distilled to no more than 80% ABV and aged in new oak barrels.