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Sunday Serendipity
A New Rye That Is All Rye

By Stephen Eliot

Bulleit’s Frontier Whiskey has been the house Bourbon hereabouts for quite some time. It is a nicely balanced, well-defined whiskey that is at once smooth and deeply flavored. Made from a proprietary recipe said to be some 150 years old, it employs a bit more rye in its mash bill than is the norm and shows a spicier edge than a typical Kentucky Bourbon. It ranks high on our list of fine values.

Bulleit’s close-to-iconic, orange-labeled, old-fashioned flask bottle is immediately recognizable on store shelves, and more than a few of the whiskey’s fans may wonder just what is up with the brand new green-labeled version. No, Bulleit has not changed its look, the green label belongs to the distillery’s new small-batch Rye. Bulleit 95 Rye, is the latest in a series of new, high-quality Rye whiskies that are redefining an American classic.

Whereas Bourbon is distilled from a grain mash comprised at least 51% corn, American Rye whiskey by law similarly requires that it be made from at least 51% rye. Bulleit’s new version, however, checks in at a full 95% rye with a bit of malted barley (barley is important in the initial fermentation) making up the remainder of its mash bill. It is a terrific expression of just what rye tastes like, and its very deep, impressively layered, lightly nutty flavors are long on allspice, cinnamon and clove with the barest hint of brown sugar sitting off to the side. Rye was once the preferred spirit in making a the classic Manhattan cocktail, and, while Bulleit’s new offering will work splendidly as just that, it should be noted that this beautifully made whisky is so smooth and well-balanced as to be a lovely dram drunk neat.

Back at the beginning of the new year, I wrote of two top-flight Ryes whiskies, the High West Rendevous and Black Maple Hill’s 23-year-old bottling. Neither were cheap, and the pricey Black Maple Hill is one to save for the best (or worst) of times. Bulleit’s latest is not at all embarrassed when compared to either, and, like its mate orange-labeled Bourbon companion, it is nothing less than an out-and-out bargain. Depending on the market, it will be found from $20.00 to $30.00, and it is simply without peer at the price.


What? No Wry Comments?
by Charles E. Olken
Posted on:4/4/2011 11:25:41 PM

Steve Eliot found his bottle of Bulleit Rye at Jackson's in Lafayette, CA for about $20. The other ryes in his collection are considerably more expensive, and he is now sold on this one. He hasn't made a Manhattan with his yet, but since he and I both like Rye Manhattans, I am going out and getting a bottle tomorrow and see how it works.

Me too--
by Some guy
Posted on:4/5/2011 10:22:41 AM

Please don't forget to get me one too, while you are out!
by John
Posted on:4/5/2011 6:54:17 PM

Somebody should email Tom Wark and ask him to weigh in here. If I recall correctly he's a bit of a rye guy. I am not straight up rye, but I do discover a Manhattan or Sazerac in front of me at times. I have been partial to Michter's lately, but look forward to trying the Bulleit.

I'll Take Manhattan
by Charlie Olken
Posted on:4/6/2011 12:18:58 AM

And Sazerac, too.

Funny that Mr. Wark's name should come up. He called today (in his capacity as PR person, not in his capacity as blogger or Manhattan drinker) and he did not mention this blog even though we did talk a bit about the 100-point essay above.

Re Michter's: I find Michter's, which is my favorite sipping Rye, to be almost too smooth for a Manhattan. But, Michter's does also offer a whiskey called USA-1, with enough corn to qualify as Bourbon but also plenty of rye, andi it is actually a little stronger flavored. That has been my Manhattan rye of choice. But I will be rushing out to be the Bulleit Rye. I have always like their Bourbon, although admittedly I am a Wild Turkey drinker when I want a Bourbon/Rocks.

Templeton Rye
by Terry Rooney
Posted on:5/23/2011 12:11:27 PM
In the midwest and other parts of the country, Templeton Rye is on strict allocation. It was allegedly the favorite of Al Capone, who called it "the good stuff."I'll be trying some in 10 days. Will let you know how it performs.

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