I have been meaning to try the new Knob Creek Rye and am now setting about that business. I like Knob Creek whiskies, and have heard good things about this new Rye. So I decided it deserved to be measured agin a couple of my old favorites in the Rye category. Those are the Rittenhouse Bottled in Bond Rye, which, like the KC, is 100 proof and carries no age statement, and Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye, 95 proof. The VWFR claims to be 13 years old but most folks who know about these things say it is likely made up of older rye whiskies (some considerably older). Anyone care to address this?
Does the KC Rye belong in the company of others? My first sip says yes! But let us not be too hasty. Side by side comparisons are in order.
KC Rye - a nice rounding of barrel sweetness while being on the soft side for a rye whiskey - excellent rye whiskey - the barrel flavors soften and add sweetness, and play a major role (within the context of it being a rye whiskey)
Rittenhouse Rye - a touch more spice but with a beautiful floral component (abetted by what I have often called the unique sweetness imparted by rye) - excellent rye whiskey - the rye and the yeast (floral elements) play first fiddle
VWFR Rye - softer still, with that subtle Van Winkle dry tannin touch from years in the barrel - excellent rye whiskey - the time in the barrel plays first fiddle (as compared to the others, and in the context of it being a rye whiskey - it is not without rye qualities)
BONUS RYE - since I have long said that Wild Turkey 101 Rye is a great whiskey (are they still making it? if not, Wild Turkey should be ashamed, I say, ashamed!!!), I have thrown it into this throw down.
WT Rye - spicer (higher rye recipe?) than the others with that unmistakable WT bite that goes all the way to the bottom.... still rich in the WT way - an excellent rye - the rye itself plays first fiddle
No winner because they all display their own unique strengths. Knob Creek Rye is as good as any of them, and has the edge on Barrel Flavors.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas