rye whiskey

Review: Basil Hayden’s Two by Two Rye

The latest Basil Hayden expression, Two by Two Rye, is not a rye whiskey. I can see where a consumer might get confused, thinking he or she is buying a rye whiskey. Simply deleting the word “rye” and naming this Basil Hayden’s Two by Two would have been a more direct approach.

What’s inside is interesting. It’s a blend of straight whiskies: 5-year-old rye, 7-year-old “high rye” , 13-year-old bourbon, and 7-year-old bourbon. The bourbon and rye whiskey blends aren’t new, but are delicious when made well. (See High West’s Bourye and Wild Turkey’s Forgiven.) In keeping with the Basil Hayden tradition, Two by Two Rye is bottled at 40% abv. This whiskey retails for $44.99.

The nose is nice, if a bit muted and a little young, featuring spiced caramel, slightly ‘green’ rye grain, and a touch of burnt sugar. There is more of the same on the palate. Hints of caramel and waxy vanilla meet some baking spice. That green note from the nose is here as well, but in a less upfront way. A bit of toasted cedar develops right before the spicy and slightly dry finish.

I’ve gotta say – this is the first Basil Hayden release that disappointed me. It came across as a bit thin and sort of boring. The thin part had to do with the whiskey’s low proof. That hasn’t hindered the brand’s other expressions, but here it keeps robustness on a very short lease. As for the boring part… the whiskey is not bad. It’s just… okay. There’s nothing exciting here. The aforementioned Forgiven and especially Bourye are big, spicy, and robust, which is what a bourbon and rye blend should be. As for Two by Two Rye, a better choice would be any other Basil Hayden expression. Go for the reliable Basil Hayden’s bourbon with its high rye mash bill, or even the fruitiness of Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye. 6/10

Basilhaydens.com

Thanks to Basil Hayden’s for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Review: Yippee Ki-Yay (2018)

The 2018 batch of one of High West’s most fun expressions, Yippee Ki-Yay, is hitting shelves. The distillery starts with their Double Rye!, a blend of straight whiskies, and finished them in vermouth and syrah barrels.

Most of the whiskies that make up the Double Rye! are sourced, but this year’s batch contains some of High West’s own distillate. Master Distiller Brendan Coyle said a component whiskey from the Barton distillery was replaced with a High West-distilled rye, though the team was very careful not to change the flavor profile.

It’s all in the blending, which High West excels at, in my opinion.

Yippee Ki-Yay! is bottled at 46% abv. My sample is from batch 18C29.

The nose is ripe with vibrant rye grain, fresh stone fruits, sweet pickles, sage and cinnamon. The palate starts spicy, with allspice, cinnamon sugar, and black peppercorns. Vanilla and fruit syrup arrives to soothe those spices, developing into caramel and freshly sawn oak. The dried herbs on the nose also show up in the mid-palate. The medium-length, warm, and slightly dry finish features more sweet fruit, dried basil, and rye spice.

As I mentioned earlier, Yippee Ki-Yay! is a fun and tasty whiskey. It takes the spiciness of a young rye whiskey blend and adds in fruit from the unique finish. Want something interesting? Reach for this one. 8/10

Highwest.com

Thanks to High West for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review: Michter’s 10-year-old Rye Whiskey (2018)

Michter’s has released their coveted 10-year-old rye whiskey for the first time in more than a year.  The single barrel expression consistently ranks among my favorite rye whiskies. Just like the last time, Michter’s 10-year-old rye barrels were selected by Master of Maturation Andrea Wilson and approved by Master Distiller Pamela Heilmann.

Though Michter’s is currently distilling at their new distillery (a place I really need to visit), the stocks that make up this whiskey came through contract distilling.  That’s different from sourcing whiskey.  Contract distilling means making your whiskey at an existing distillery to your specifications (mash bill, unique yeast strain, etc).

Bottled at 46.4% ABV, or 93.8 proof, Michter’s 10yr rye undergoes the company’s “signature filtration.”  My sample bottle came from barrel no. 18E559.

The nose on this whiskey always does it for me – dark, rich caramels with an abundance of baking spices like nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and cardamom, as well as a bit of toasted oak.  On the palate, the whiskey doesn’t disappoint.  Layers and layers of dark caramel wash over the front palate as those lovely spice notes ramp up in intensity.  A little bit of toasted rye is present, as is a touch of vanilla pod.  A dark chocolate note appears mid-palate, along with a touch of leather and oak.  The finish features more caramel alongside toasted coconut,  dried fruit, and spice.

Michter’s has another winner on their hands with this expression.  It keeps in line with a richness found in a lot of Michter’s whiskies.  Decadent is a great descriptor here.  Quite lovely.  A bottle runs a suggested retail price of $160, and I think it’s worth every penny.  Nicely done.  9/10

Thanks to Michter’s for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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