Whiskey with a mash bill of at least 51% rye
As you probably already know, the bourbon was good, but honestly, this takes the cake for me. It’s balanced, it’s complex, it’s approachable, the Frey Ranch Rye Bottled-In-Bond is a heck of a rye whiskey. If they keep putting out whiskey like this, they’re going to be a serious force in the market. Add them to your list of craft distillers to keep an eye on.
Seriously, the spice just keeps coming on this one, especially on the finish. The Gospel Straight Rye is fun and quirky to drink on its own, I’ve enjoyed several glasses of it neat, but it also works very well in an Old Fashioned. In fact, when making one you can go light on the bitters because this brings almost all the spice you’ll need.
On the whole, this Blackened x Willett Rye Madeira Finish is something new, different and tasty. It’s a great marriage of the talents and processes of two icons in the whiskey world and even if it wasn’t a good whiskey, I’d be happy it existed; I’d love to see more collaborations like this show up in the market. Some truly remarkable things can happen when people work together.
On the whole the High West Rendezvous Rye 21C23 is ok as a pour, but when it comes to cocktails the game changes and this turns into a superstar. It excels in all of the usuals, especially an Old Fashioned and Sazerac, and ends up pushing the spice up everywhere it was tested. This is going to make for a heck of a summer cocktail rye.
It’s hard to describe exactly how this Four Roses Rye Whiskey differs from modern rye, but believe me when I say… it’s stupid good. There is a balance of light and dark, beauty and brutality, that weave their way through this that make it difficult to draw parallels to anything on the market right now. It’s a true unicorn.
With water the Castle and Key Restoration Rye picks up a tad more corn sweetness on the nose (cornbread) and some extra herbal and biscuity notes on the palate, but on the whole not a major shift. It’s awesome to see them rolling out with a good initial product and set a nice precedent for what’s to come and the quality to expect. On top of being a decent sipper, I can see this being a GREAT Old Fashioned or Sazerac mixer. Way to go C&K.
It’s a really nice, full, whiskey and while I usually think double oak is a waste of barrels this actually has a pronounced impact over the original Sagamore rye. It’s tasty, it’s deep, it’s dark and warm with a bold character that works in cocktails. As much I hate to say it… Sagamore Spirit Double Oak seems to be a good use of a second cask, I’m going to enjoy drinking through this one!
Part of me wants to drink all of this sample neat because I’m enjoying it so much. But, my curiosity has me wanting to make cocktails with it as well. The combo of flavors is super unique and I’m dying to find out how the Sagamore Reserve Tequila Finish does in some of my go-to whiskey cocktails: Sazerac, Old Fashioned, Basin Street and Manhattan. Or, heck, even in something like a La Rosita. Should be fun.
I took my own assumption and just poured it over some ice, garnished with an orange peel and voila, it became an awesome sipping cocktail. The expressed orange peel added a nice citrus pop to that held cut the sweetness a tad and the slowly melting ice helped to further break up the sweet notes and it made for a pleasant drinking experience till the last sip. This Sagamore Reserve Manhattan Finish is going to be a killer summer, iced, drinker and highball maker. But as a standalone, neat drinker
There’s an odd note that kind of reminds me of pomegranate… if it was chalky, like a pomegranate powder. But on the whole, I just… don’t… quite… care for it. The Coalition Rye Sauternes Barriques Finish doesn’t feel cohesive and there’s that raw-woody crafty note that keeps coming up over and over. It’s one of my least favorite notes in whiskeydom.
The depth, the heaviness and the complexity is flooding me with the ghosts of drams past. This Redemption 10 Year Barrel Proof Rye is that old-style MGP rye long-time drinkers know and love. This is the profile that all-too-often is missing in the market because it’s not as common as it used to be. It’s a true rye-lovers rye. This… this is awesome.
I made an interesting, but not successful, Basin Street with it thinking the citrus plus rum-sweetness would work in a semi-tiki-like fashion… it didn’t. But where it did work well was in an Old Fashioned and a Boulevardier. I’m sure the Redemption Rum Cask Finish Rye would also work well in a Sidecar, but that’s a drink for a different night.
On the whole it is a little light, and feels topical without a ton of depth, but the fact that it’s only a 2-year-old whiskey and delivers this much shows the power of proper maturation vs a defined age. Now if they were charging $100 I might throw a rant in here, but they’re not and it’s a perfectly servicable whiskey. There is nothing to dislike about the Redemption Rye whiskey.
On one hand this Traverse City North Coast Rye reminds me of some of the 3 yo Willet Rye I’ve had. There is a definite youth to this, but that’s not wholly a bad thing in this instance. It brings something slightly different to the shelf and I can’t wait to see how it does in cocktails. Though, what I’m really excited for is to see how it matures and what happens with the spirit and the oak fully integrate.