Bourbon Vs Rye Question
Im not quite sure how to ask this, so bear with me here. As far as my whisk(e)y experience, i started with scotch, then bourbon, then rye. My first bourbon was makers, and due to the wheat had a very light taste. I was lead to believe that rye adds a lot of spice and flavor to a whiskey, and i can agree when i compare Makers to Woodford, Four Roses, Old Grand Dad, and finally Rittenhouse. I am currently sitting down with Old Grand Dad 100BIB, and for tasting sake, i poured a swallow of Rittenhouse to compare side by side. The Rittenhouse was actually much smoother, and went down much easier than the Old Grand Dad. (Im still enjoying OGD dont get me wrong.) Now i know whiskey isn't a science, and there is no perfect formula, but i'm still going to ask. If rye is the spicier grain, that adds that extra kick to bourbons like Four Roses, Granddad, maybe Woodford (18%rye), then why is it that the actual rye whiskey i'v tasted is so much smoother and lighter? And does anyone know the percentage of rye in Rittenhouse? I know it has to be at least 51%.
much more than that. For something with a higher content, you
could try Bulleit - they use LDI's 95% rye and 5% malt (no corn)
Like you said there is no exact science and the Smoothness of the finish is really determined by a number of factors most notably the barrel. Ask any whiskey/ Whisky expert and they will tell u 2/3 of the finished flavor of every whiskey/whisky is from the barrel. The American oak or most commonly white american oak used has a very rich flavor with 4 distinct strains of vanilla and nice nutty notes they add a lot of depth in flavor which is why most other aged alcohol's use Ex-bourbon barrels to age in.
but back to the main point all whiskies turn out a little different even whiskies that come out of the same batch because they all age in their own distinct barrel and the smoothness or finish really comes from the barrel. The longer the aging process is on the whiskey the more likely you are to have a smoother more robust finish. If i was you i would try and high-end Stright rye and see what you think like; Whistle Pig, Michter's rye or Willet's 5yr straight rye. Those 3 give a great glimpse of how good rye's can be.
hope it helps
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