rye whiskey

Review: Redemption Barrel Proof Whiskies

redemption-agedbarrelproof

Photo courtesy of Redemption Whiskey

Back in the fall of 2017, Redemption Whiskey released a trio of barrel proof whiskies consisting of two bourbons and a rye.  These are the same MGP-distilled whiskies used in Redemption’s core line, but carry higher age statements of 9 and 10 years.  They have been ‘minimally filtered’ and are available for $99.99.  Let’s take a look…

REDEMPTION BARREL PROOF 9-YEAR-OLD BOURBON

Bottled at 108.2 proof, Redemption’s Barrel Proof Bourbon comes from a mash bill of 76% corn, 21% rye, and 4% malted barley.  The aromas are packed pretty tight, featuring hints of roasted corn, minerals, maple syrup and a sprinkling of leather.  On the palate, a nice array of flavors present themselves in a bold way, including hints of caramel corn, spice cake, as well as a touch of flint and sweet oak.  The warming finish sticks around for a while.  I don’t think water is needed for this one.  It doesn’t come across as “hot.” Rather, it’s a great example of a barrel proof whiskey whose flavors are well rounded and best enjoyed as is.  8.5/10

REDEMPTION BARREL PROOF 10-YEAR-OLD HIGH-RYE BOURBON

Slightly older is the 10-year-old High-Rye bourbon, with a mash bill of 60% corn, 36% rye, and 4% malted barley.  On the nose, the extra rye is evident as we find a boost in the spice department.  Hints of baking spices abound.    In addition, slightly darker caramel, vanilla bean and espresso notes are present.  Taste-wise, big flavors paint the picture: Mexican chocolate, nutmeg, caramel, and sweet oak.  The finish is long and chest-warming, with lingering hints of dark chocolate-covered toasted almonds and toffee.  Like the 9-year-old bourbon, this expression, bottled at 114.8 proof, doesn’t need any water.  It’s a well made whiskey, that’s for sure.  9/10

REDEMPTION BARREL PROOF 10-YEAR-OLD RYE WHISKEY

Last but not least, Redemption’s 10-year-old rye whiskey features a familiar MGP mash bill of 95% rye and 5% malted barley.  It’s bottled at 116.2 proof.  The nose leans a bit towards the herbal, with hints basil and fennel sitting alongside fresh ginger and caramel.  The palate closely follows the nose.  More basil and dill at first, punctuated by dark chocolate, vanilla cream and dark toffee.  Oak spice and cigar box develop soon afterwards.  The finish is long and a touch dry, as expected, with hints baking spices, red pepper flakes and toffee.  A wonderfully aged rye whiskey that balances spice, herbs, and sweetness.  8.5/10

Thanks to Redemption Whiskey for the samples.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Jack Daniel’s Rye Whiskey Review

Photo courtesy of Jack Daniel’s


Jack fans rejoice, for the the planets have aligned – Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Straight Rye Whiskey is finally upon us.  Over the last couple of years, the brand has released unaged, rested, and single barrel rye whiskies using their first new mash bill since Prohibition.  The single barrel expressions can vary in flavor, while the unaged and rested ryes were previews of what was to come.  This new batched rye whiskey is the mass market release that Brown-Forman was aiming for.

Bottled at a hearty 90 proof, Jack Daniel’s Rye comes from a mash bill of 70% rye, 18% corn, and 12% malted barley.  Like it’s world famous black label sibling, Jack Daniel’s Rye is charcoal filtered before maturation.

On the nose, rye grain cuts through caramel-topped banana ice cream.  A whiff of fresh ginger arrives with a little airtime.  Taste-wise, rich maple syrup hits the palate initially, followed by a dual blast of rye grain and a myriad of baking spices.  Waves of creamy vanilla calm the spices down.  The medium finish plays on the sweet and spicy theme that defines this rye whiskey.  

Kudos to the folks at Jack Daniel’s for putting together a great tasting and affordable rye whiskey.  The suggested retail price for a bottle is $26.99, just a few dollars more than the famous black label.  Fans of Jack who didn’t want to pay the $50 premium for the single barrel rye should reach for this release.  It’s damn near half the price and delivers a solid experience. 7.5/10

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

Barrell Rye Batch 001 Whiskey Review

The folks at Barrell Craft Spirits have finally answered my prayers with the release of their first batch of rye whiskey.  This initial batch is aged 4.5 years and features rye whiskies distilled in Indiana and Tennessee.  A combination of  “sweeter malted barley rye barrels and spicy high rye barrels”, Barrell Rye Batch 001 comes across as a bit different than you’re used to.  I’ll explain in my tasting notes below.  Barrell Rye is bottled at a cask strength of 58.5% abv, or 117 proof, to preserve the full character of the spirit.

Rye grain is at the forefront of both the nose and palate.  On the nose, the whiskey comes across as rich and buttery as well as spicy.  Here, the spice I refer to is cinnamon and allspice.  A bit of caramel and a touch of vanilla extract round out the nose.  On entry, an initial blast of buttery toffee transitions into waves of spice, butterscotch, and slightly herbaceous notes.  The interplay of sweet and spice is nice here.  The finish is long, with slightly sweet toasted rye bread and dark malt lingering.

It seems the intention with Barrell Rye Batch 001 is to put a spotlight on the grain.  That is partially accomplished with the young age.  What makes this release unique is the blending of two completely different types of rye whiskies.  The end result is a grain-forward rich, sweet and spicy rye whiskey.  While not utterly complex, Barrell Rye Batch 001 is immensely enjoyable.  Part of the fun is realizing you’re drinking something just a bit different than you’re used to.  7.5/10

Barrellbourbon.com