My First-Ever Rye Whiskey-Tasting [Whiskey Wednesday]
This past Sunday, I got to experience a rye whiskey-tasting for my first time.* While I have had a rye whiskey or a rye whiskey there, I was not particularly familiar with rye whiskey beyond having a sense that it was somewhat similar to bourbon.
Having in front of us George Dickel, (rī)1, Michter’s, Whistlepig, and Hudson Manhattan Rye Whiskey, we decided to go with the George Dickel simply because it was the least expensive. Coming in at 90 proof, it was actually, I thought, smooth hitting the palate, although sweet and spicy upon the palate, with an oakey finish. It was solid.
We moved on to the (rī)1, which I thought was soft, smooth, with a growing spiciness that begins on the back of the palate and remains prominent throughout the finish. Following the ri1, which was 92 proof, we moved on to the Michter’s, which, at 84.8 proof, was the least alcoholic of the evening. I found the Michter’s to have a sweet nose and sweeter than the (rī)1. I thought it had a soft landing on the palate, which quickly turned spicy. I thought it was oakier than the first two, although its finish was not as enduring as the first two (FWIW, it came from barrel 14H514).
Then, we took a step up to the Whistlepig, which, at 100 proof, was the highest-proofed whiskey of the evening. Not only that, it was also the only one of them with its entire grain bill consisting of rye. I thought it did not have a sharp nose, in contrast with the first three rye whiskies of the evening, perhaps due to its having been aged 10 years. I though it landed onto the palate feeling soft, and then quickly changed, although only to a light spicing throughout. I sensed that it was sweet and calm and lightly spicy, perhaps the 10 years helped keep it calm. This was a very enjoyable rye whiskey!
Finally, we moved onto the 92 proof Hudson Manhattan Rye Whiskey, which was certainly much different than the others. It had a distinct nose and flavor to it (which I am not sure how to identify), with perhaps some berry on the nose. It had a soft palate landing and I thought it had a lovely blend of smooth and just a touch of spiciness, more towards the back of the palate and on in to the finish. It was the calmest and smoothest rye whiskey of the evening, although it also carried a distinct taste with it. Wow. It was great! (FWIW, it was year 14, batch 9, bottle 1797)
I enjoyed the rye whiskies, especially to be able to develop a better sense of rye whiskies. If I had to do the tasting over again, I would have started with the (rī)1, moved to the George Dickel, then Michter’s, then Whistlepig, and finishing with the Hudson Manhattan Rye Whiskey, so we mostly did it well.
*Yes, it was a work event.