Rye whiskeys are the hidden gem of American whiskey distilleries. Rye whiskeys are distinctly American in the way that Islay whiskys are distinctly Scotch in origin. Rye whiskeys, made with at least 51% rye mash, tend to have a distinct flavor and are noticeably less full-bodied than bourbons, which are made with at least 51% corn by law. Some bar-tenders still make the classic whiskey drinks, such as whiskey sours and manhattans, with rye to achieve a drier taste.
Ryes have traditionally been more popular in northern states, extending as far south as Maryland, although their popularity has certainly been on the decline since the 1950s. In fact, some of our older guests’ eyes still light up when they see a good rye on our shelf, usually followed by a comment about how “back in the day everyone used to drink a rye.”
Redemption High-Rye combines the sweetness of a bourbon with the spiciness and dryness of a rye mash. Redemption basically uses a 60-40 split, favoring the corn over the rye, in order to achieve what it hopes is an excellent sipping whiskey.
Type: Kentucky Rye-Bourbon
Color: Golden malt
Aroma: Soft and nutty, with a predominant caramel aroma. Upon opening there were some grain and malt notes.
Pallet: Initial taste was dominated by the spiciness of the rye and gave way to the sweet finish indicative of a bourbon
Michael: I really like ryes in general but this one didn’t sit too well with me, perhaps because I’m not a fan of hybrids. Maybe I’m wrong on this but the only justification I can think of for mixing a rye with a bourbon is to create a whiskey conducive to mixed drinks. That being said, I do think it would go well in a mixed drink.
Andrew: The added rye sounded like an innovative twist on a classic bourbon, but I didn’t actually find this whiskey more interesting than other mid-level bourbons.
Nicholas: Super balanced, rye-bourbon blend that does well at its price point. I enjoyed it more than my confreres and recommend picking up a bottle, especially if you can find it for under $20.
Verdict: Sun, the 4th level of Paradiso