Bourbon Week – Day 3: Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13yo (47.8%, OB, K0375, 70 cl)

Yeah, yeah, I know, this is not a Bourbon. But I did say I would throw in the odd Rye, didn’t I? And why wouldn’t I, since Rye is really America’s first whiskey. What is it precisely? This is a Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey. Technically a Bourbon is very close to a Rye Whisky. Just a shift in grains in the mash bill. By law its required to be made of a mash of at least 51% rye. The other grains of the mash are usually corn and some malted barley. Rye whiskey is called Straight, when it has been aged for at least two years. Now this 13yo Rye. Well first of all, this isn’t 13yo. Its called 13yo because Julian van Winkle bought the Rye’s in this whisky at 13yo. He nevertheless let the Whiskey age until its 18th year and at that age it was put in stainless steel tanks, to stop its ageing. Where does this come from? Van Winkle isn’t a distillery so they got their whisky from somewhere else. A lot of their Bourbons come form the sadly deceased Stitzel-Weller distillery, but this Rye is supposedly from Medley (Owensboro Kentucky) ánd Cream of Kentucky (Frankfort), and has an unusual high corn content for a straight rye.

Color: Copper

Nose: Fresh. Dusty coconut. Spicy and wood. This could have been a single malt. It’s not the spice from the wood but the spice comes first. Very nice nose, almost luxury. It’s almost like this had some cherry fruityness to it, but that has almost gone. Later on some honey in the nose

Taste: Wow, this is wood in the good way, and glue in the good way. What a fabulous aged Rye! Sometimes a whiff of soap passes by. Rye can give it a very distinct ‘hardness’ to the finished product, but this is about 38% corn. This corn sweetness (Paul McCartney) tames the Rye a bit (John Lennon) and together they create a fabulous harmony, balance, with a perfect bite in the finish. And that’s not all, the finish also has some honeyed caramel. Honeyed caramel with a bite. What else do you want…

This is an unbelievable fine ‘blend’ of Rye’s. Period.

Points: 88