Not too long ago, I discovered I like rye whiskey. Up until that point, the only whiskey I’d regularly work into my rotation was Jack Daniels. “Normal” bourbons didn’t do much for me, I wasn’t crazy about the Canadian whiskeys I tried (which turns out to be meaningful in my exercise today), and I’ve only liked single malt scotches of the scotches I’ve tried.
So after trying a rye cocktail at a bar, I went to good ol’ Costco and got a monster sized bottle of Bulleit Rye, a 95% rye mash whiskey that I liked very much, blended into my usual concoction of a couple of fingers worth over ice with a splash of lemon juice & then mixed with a lemon seltzer.
I wondered about some of the other ryes out there, though. Would I notice any difference?
An easy way to test, I figured, was to head over to the local BevMo and grab a few minis of whatever ryes they had and do comparison tests each day, making 2 half-sized drinks, one with the Bulleit and one with the special guest star.
Well, they only had the Jack Daniels Rye, so I grabbed a mini (along with a six of some Moretti Rosso, one of my favorite beers) and headed home.
I mixed both the Jack Daniels Rye and the Bulleit in identical proportions in separate glasses, and then did some extremely enjoyable taste testing.
Gotta say… the Bulleit was superior, and I’m thinking I can actually pick up the difference between its 95% rye mash versus the Jack Daniels 75%. The JD isn’t bad, but has an odd finish to it, similar to what I felt when I mixed a Crown Royal Canadian whiskey drink some time ago. And “Canadian Whiskey” is mostly corn/bourbon-y type stuff flavored with rye in varying amounts.
Funny…. you’d figure a 75% rye on top of what Jack Daniels old number 7 is would be right up my alley…. but evidently it isn’t. I preferred JD to other bourbons because of it’s subtle sourness, which is why I figured I liked rye in the first place.
Sigh. I’m a prima donna…. I gotta have nearly pure rye for the stronger and more consistent flavor in the finish after each sip.
Though I gotta admit… the rye-IPA thing is WAY too much sharp/bitter for me, and I’ll leave that stuff to others. I’m not a big IPA guy anyway.
So perhaps I’ll try a small bottle of one of the other pure rye mash versions to compare to Bulleit, although the easier thing to do would be to head back to Costco and just get another 1.75 liter job and savor it over the several months it’d take me to go through it. This ain’t exactly rocket science.