Looking for trouble regarding whiskey........

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Looking for trouble regarding whiskey........

Unread postby Mike » Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:18 pm

Bourbon whiskey needs time in the barrel........... corn whiskey needs none but, in my opinion, needs some. Of all whiskies, rye whiskey is far and away the best of non aged whiskies........... can we generate a fight here??
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
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Re: Looking for trouble regarding whiskey........

Unread postby EllenJ » Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:35 pm

Mike wrote:Bourbon whiskey needs time in the barrel........... corn whiskey needs none but, in my opinion, needs some. Of all whiskies, rye whiskey is far and away the best of non aged whiskies........... can we generate a fight here??

Yes, dammit! Let's rumble!! :pain10:

Mike wrote:Bourbon whiskey needs time in the barrel...........

Younger bourbons just don't have the character of those with more barrel aging in their profile, no matter what you say..........

Mike wrote:corn whiskey needs none but, in my opinion, needs some.

The definition of "corn whiskey" doesn't distinguish between unaged corn whiskey -- which is a fine product that shows the distiller's artistry to full advantage -- and aged corn whiskey (but only when aged in used or uncharred new barrels), a completely different product with its own qualities. And while I have always loved the former, corn whiskey with some barrel age on it has a complexity that is very enjoyable indeed, regardless of what you might think ..........

Mike wrote:Of all whiskies, rye whiskey is far and away the best of non aged whiskies........... can we generate a fight here??

There are some of us who feel that rye is the best non aged whiskey; there are some who feel that rye -- aged or not -- is the best kind of whiskey, period (sorry, bourbonheads).

Personally, I think rye whiskey, unencumbered by barrel flavors, has much more complexity than its corn-based knock-off, but then, I certainly wouldn't want to generate a fight here. RIGHT! :roll: :cussing: :lol:
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Re: Looking for trouble regarding whiskey........

Unread postby Bourbon Joe » Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:15 am

Bullshit.........Rye needs a lot of time in the barrel. I hate young ryes and rye white dog. For me, the older the bourbon, the better, within reason. Also IMO the aged wheaters are better than the aged rye based bourbons. There you have it. Blast away.
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Re: Looking for trouble regarding whiskey........

Unread postby gillmang » Sun Dec 09, 2012 4:19 pm

I agree with everyone: bourbon needs time in the bottle within reason; corn whiskey is best with some barrel time on it; and rye needs fairly prolonged age to be at its best - young rye is not very drinkable.

Guess I'm a lover not a fighter. :)

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Re: Looking for trouble regarding whiskey........

Unread postby Mike » Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:39 pm

Now, me has before me Trybox rye dog, Delaware Phoenix (Cheryl Lins) Rye Dog, Cheryl Lins Rye Whiskey, High West 21 YO Rye Whiskey, and 23 YO Vintage rye. The first three are unaged or very young rye whiskies of an unknown rye content (but at least 51% and probably higher), The High West recipe is 53% rye grain. The Vintage rye is from Kentucky Bourbon Distillers and I have been unable to find the rye content in its recipe. I have tried to make them all around 95 to 100 Proof.

Cheryl's rye whiskies (I do not know how long the aged rye was in the barrel, nor the recipes) have the distinct, and to me quite arresting, flavor of the grain. Her aged rye is somewhat softer and has a bit less edge to it than her rye dog. Still, her rye dog has a jolt to it that arouses the palate with its intense flavors whilst revealing that it was a very 'clean' distillate, with no wayward flavors to distract the palate. Both are excellent whiskies. Her rye dog is formidable and suits the description Gary Gillman gave (in another post?) of the use of intensely flavored whiskies as intended for mixing (e.g. many strongly flavored Bourbons and Ryes), I think Gary was right on the mark in this observation.

Trybox, I believe is probably right around that 51% needed to call it a straight rye.......... on the bottle it notes that it contains corn and barley grains, and it is certainly much softer than Cheryl's ryes, still, (my opinion) Trybox rye is quite drinkable with a touch of water to tame its 125 proof.

Both the High West and the Vintage Rye owe a great deal to the softening and redirection of palate experience toward the wood. The rye spice (my opinion) plays off well against the tannins of the ultra aging. This explains, in my mind, why ultra aged rye whiskies are in general better than ultra aged bourbons (which are usually wheat and corn).

All of these whiskies, in my opinion, are worthy of comsumption, some may be best in the role of vatting, blending, or mixing with other whiskies or ingredients (Trybox, Cheryl's rye dog), while others can stand alone because of their uniquely challenging taste attack (Chery's rye whiskey). The High West and the Vintage rye will find favor with those of us who can and do appreciate the particular combination of ultra aging wood tannins, and the unique rye spice.

I can, do, and will continue to appreciate the unique qualities of TryBox and Chery's rye dog because (I think) of the quality of the distillate, which has no wayward edges to distract from the true flavors imparted by the grains. Trybox gives a heavy nod to its corn and barley components, whilst Cheryl's rye dog stays faithful to its rye sources.

There is no question that my palate favors the rye whiskey from Delaware Phoenix distillery, Cheryl Lins, master distiller. It is young, but clean, rye whiskey. Its adherence to the true grain flavors offers a unique whiskey experience, probably akin to what our ancestors enjoyed so many years ago. Occurs to me, as I think is the case, they were not deprived of first rate whiskey.

Methinks, some 'dog' whiskies are throwbacks to the days when an experience of the primal (fundamental) tastes of our ancestors were what was available - well before 'white bread', 'lite beer', 'prepared foods', and inoffensive 'super market frozen meals' - well before 'least common denominator' tastes were what producers sought. The rebellion against this mediocrity (in my opinion) began in England years ago with the Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) which spread slowly across the globe and demanded a return to truly flavorful beer. Americans began to take up the banner of more flavorful beers, next came Single Malt Whiskies....... which slowly affectly the American Bourbon scene, etc. etc. I may have the order of these transitions askew, but that I can, in a small Georgia town (a suburb of Atlanta) have access to so many beers and other alcoholic beverages is indeed a revolution.

It is true that few of you have access to the products from Chery Lins' distillery, but the products coming from other Artisanal distillers are out there (albeit not cheap), and they are influencing the major distillers (Trybox whiskey is a Heaven Hills product). BTW, Trybox Corn whiskey (which contains some rye), is like a softer version of its rye whiskey, and a good 'elemental' and clean whiskey.

Today's whiskey market is probably unrivaled in the variety of products available to the consumer. If you are in this hobby and 'game', be prepared to waste some money on some 'gimicky' products in search of those experiences that stimulate you palate and bring you a pleasurable drinking experienc.
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
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Re: Looking for trouble regarding whiskey........

Unread postby EllenJ » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:24 am

Well, Mike, you started this all out with a challenge to fight for.... well, something.

And you've put forth some really good stuff about a kind of American spirit many of us who claim to love bourbon seem to abhor. Namely unaged or barely-aged whiskey juice that might become bourbon or rye -- but not necessarily. Since one doesn't need to be part of the wealthy establishment to create such spirit, these are often products that are the first to emerge from new, start-up distilleries. Whether one chooses to call them ALL "artisan" or "craftsman" is somewhat up for grabs, and seems to be the REAL basis for your inventive challenge.

I absolutely agree with you that Cheryl Linns' Delaware-Phoenix (which has NO relation to either Delaware or Arizona, both of which have distilleries of their own) serves as an outstanding example. Another New York product that I personally love is Thom McKenzie's Finger Lakes whiskies. And what about Tuthilltown? Not to mention your own state's 13th Colony Corn (and thank you for allowing me to enjoy a bottle of that).

What I'd like to read about from other members here are reviews (or at least mentions) of (legal) white or young whiskies from other parts of the country. As far as I know, every state except Maine, New Hampshire, Florida, and North Dakota now has at least one active distillery. Not all of them distill whiskey or grain spirits, but most do. If you folks living in ANY of the other states don't already know you have a local distillery to visit, try the products of, and report here, PLEASE GO OUT AND FIND THEM. Then tell us folks (who probably can't get them, and therefore can't dispute your opinion) just how great they are and what we're missing. Hey, that's what keeps John Hansel and Jim Murray in business.

Pictures of labels are also appreciated.
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Re: Looking for trouble regarding whiskey........

Unread postby gillmang » Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:24 pm

Interesting follow up here. I respect Mike's notes and John's thoughts greatly, but I'm with Joe that that I dislike greatly the white dog taste (on its own I mean). To me it is a chemical taste and doesn't really - the ones I've had - taste of grains, but rather of soapy or cleanser-like ("pine sol") flavours. New make that employs corn can be very oily and taste of young corn, yes, but that is not a plus in my book.

I readily admit I have not tried Cheryl's whiskeys and would love to. I know she has put tremendous effort into ensuring a traditional palate and I might well agree with Mike on the merits of these whiskeys.

But for the white spirits ones I've had, i.e., spirits distilled at a proof traditional for whisky but not aged or much aged, I can't drink them on their own. I've had Tuthilltown products, some young rye from Tom McKenzie's company, some Trybox, and many others and all seem quite quite similar in this respect (to me again). I am sure all these makes would make some killer straight whiskey but they need barrel time, at least 6 years for the ryes and probably more in many cases since rye does tend to come into its best with prolonged aging. I greatly enjoy even the very old ryes that Mike just surveyed for example. I just had a BMH 23 year old straight rye that was outstanding, full of "old library" and aged Christmas cake tastes, woody but in the best possible way where the rye spice is highlighted as well. In very old rye, the rye congeners and long wood aging somehow turn it into something tasting of toasty rye bread, which is odd since I never get that with new rye. I think it is a coincidence, but there ye be.

The white whiskeys have their role though. Mike, try them with a good shake of bitters (any kind) and a skosh of sugar or syrup. Try them in punches, whiskey-punch was a traditional way to drink them in the old days. Mix them with one of those heavily sweetened and spiced aged whiskeys on the market today. Make a "whiskey kir" by adding a splash of that black cherry Jim Beam to one of them. They will be excellent and I believe that is how they were mostly drunk circa-1800.

As Mike Veach once said here, "people used to add all kinds of things to their whiskey".

They had a reason. But once methodical aging came in, there was less incentive to do that and a few whiskey cocktails are all that survives of this tradition.

Putting it another way, note how using any old whiskey (more than 8 years old) doesn't really work in a cocktail...?

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