stats: Kentucky Straight Rye, 90 proof, $50
Well, it's the 4th of July, and I couldn't think of a more appropriate day to drink and write about Rye. It's the original American whiskey. And before prohibition, it was the most common type of whiskey made in the US. Classic whiskey cocktails, like the Manhattan (which dates to the 1860's), would have originally been made with Rye. A lot of people think Canadian when they hear Rye. This is probably because in Canada, a whisky with a very low Rye content can be called Rye Whisky. But in the US, it's got to have at least 51% Rye to be called a Rye Whiskey. So they really aren't the same. Okay, enough of the history lesson, on to the whiskey. The color is a a nice deep amber, and the nose hints of the spicey flavors to come. I've tasted six different Rye whiskeys, and they all have a similar flavor. It's spicey (a bit peppery), but there's more to it. It's hard to describe, and I guess uniquely Rye. And this whiskey is full of flavor. Not just the spicey Rye flavors, but plenty of oak too (as would be expected from an 18yr whiskey), and not sweet like most Bourbons. It's powerful and intense, but well balanced with a long finish. Rye whiskey practically dissapeared in the decades after prohibition, but it's been coming back strong in recent years, and the 18yr Sazerac is leading the charge.