Browse Tag


Square deal

Rittenhouse Rye (Kentucky) – 100 proof, and the heat is all over this stuff. I’m sure that there are innumerable applications that dampen these spirits (pun intended, and yes I know and enjoy many said dampenings), but it’s a bit of a firehose to deal with in its native form. But oh, is it good anyway. Grains, leaves, seeds, dirt pellets. Everything that bourbon is not. A friend told me that, in terms of sipping tipples, I was destined to be more of a rye guy than a wheat freak. He was right. This is so, so, so much more interesting (to me) than all but the van Winkle Bourbons, and I haven’t even plumbed the depths of the aged versions of this particular spirit. (6/11)

Number one with a…

Bulleit “95” Rye Whiskey (America) – Unlike a fair number of the mass-market ryes, this actually tastes as if it was made by fans of rye rather than the mass-market. Ultimately, however, it’s fairly insignificant. Decent, basic, good guzzling rye, but lacking the grainy complexities of better ryes. A good thing to have around, but the Nixonian among us may want to keep a bottle of Rittenhouse in a plain brown wrapper. (6/11)

Saz you

Sazerac Rye (Kentucky) – Not bad, but there’s certainly better, despite the paradigmatic name. Some grain, some grass, some minor sweetness, but very restrained – almost dilute – and simple. (8/11)

New Underrelease

Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey (Kentucky) – I tend to use this as a blending component in cocktails rather than a drink in itself (though I do like rye on its own), because it’s a attenuated in isolation. There’s really not much more to be said about it. It’s average, though for the price I’m not sure more than that should be expected. (9/11)

Michter Michter

Michter’s Single Barrel Straight Rye Whiskey (Kentucky) – Grainy, grassy, slightly bitter…all good. But then, gooped-up and sticky, with molasses-textured caramel and butterscotch. This is sorority punch rye. (5/11)

Michter Sandman

Michter’s Straight Rye Whiskey (Kentucky) – Very full and rich, suggesting at dessert but never getting that sweet…in fact, the aggressive, clove-driven spice and farine texture pretty quickly dismiss sticker notions. As someone whose rye consumption is about 99% restricted to cocktails, I have no idea where this falls in qualitative or stylistic terms, or whether or not I’m “supposed” to like it. But I do. (12/10)