Rye Whiskey 2014
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Best Rye Whiskey 2014

 

The Great Rye Whiskey Tasting of 2014

 

The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 20 American rye whiskies with 20 pre-qualified judges. Strict tasting rules were applied. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. Each of the ryes were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles, and served slightly above room temperature. Only ice water, neutral unflavored unsalted crackers and bar snacks were available to cleanse the palate. The judges tasted through two flights of 7 ryes and one flight of 6 ryes.

The judges wrote down their impressions of each product on score sheets. The scoring was done on a 5-point system, with 5 as the best. Double-Gold and Gold medals were awarded according to a set range of final point scores received from the judges. The scores were exceptionally high overall, and there were no Silver or Bronze medals awarded in this tasting.

The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. The states of origin are identified for each brand.

 

Here are the final results:



Knob Creek Rye



DOUBLE-GOLD MEDAL WINNERS:

Knob Creek
(Kentucky)

Nose: Cherry, cola, sarsaparilla, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, nougat, creamy, egg nog, banana, fruity, pollen, licorice, anise.
Palate: Dried cherries, citrus, ginger, herbs, walnuts, rye flour, clove, black pepper, oregano, pine, dry oak, light smoke, silky, balanced.
Finish: Vanilla, caramel, buttery, sweet, pepper, spicy, oaky, smoky, mellow, delicate.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Batch No. 12
Heritage Distilling Co. (Washington)

Nose: Toffee, buttery, vanilla, vanilla Coke, root beer, dried fruits, toast, grain, clove, spice, pine.
Palate: Apricot, cherry, plum, dried fruit, cola, honey, brown sugar, toffee, cookies, cocoa, roasted nuts, almond, vegetal, herbal, rye, dough, grain, spicy, crisp, clean, well balanced.
Finish: Honey, vanilla, cherry, zesty, mild spice.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Batch No. 12 Rye



Ranger Creek .44 Rye



Ranger Creek .44
Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling (Texas)

Nose: Nougat, toffee, honeysuckle, honey, vanilla, sugar cane, cherry, plums, maple, walnut, leather, tobacco, oak.
Palate: Cherry, apricot, dried fruit, caramel, vanilla, toffee, marzipan, ginger, white pepper, sandalwood, mint, clove, nutty, wheat, rye flour, dough.
Finish: Clove, peppery, tropical fruit, roasted tobacco, leather, oak wood.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Sazerac
(Kentucky)

Nose: Cocoa, bitter chocolate, apple, apricot, clove, mint, cayenne, herbs, grain, malt, sweet nuttiness, sherried scotch, leather.
Palate: Apricot, strawberries, pineapple, green apple, honey, creamy, toffee, macadamia nuts, nutty, grain, sweet corn, ginger, green pepper, green olive, potato, light tobacco, hickory, oak.
Finish: Honey, spice, zesty, grassy, light, nice, smooth, well balanced.


Double-Gold Medal
Double-Gold medal



Sazerac Rye



Monterey Batch 20 Rye



Monterey Batch 20
Fog's End Distillery (California)

Nose: Butterscotch, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, honey, sweet cream, buttered popcorn, marshmallow, maple syrup, brittle, peanuts, nutty, cherry, banana.
Palate: Sugar cane, cotton candy, butterscotch, treacle, buttery, creamy, honey, vanilla, caramel apple, honeysuckle, banana, slightly nutty, almonds, clove, grassy, oak, well balanced.
Finish: Vanilla, creamy, buttery, nutmeg, mint, peppery, fresh tobacco, oak, smooth.


Double-Gold Medal
Double-Gold medal





Wigle Deep Cut
Cask Strength Organic
Wigle Whiskey (Pennsylvania)

Nose: Caramel, sugar cane, brown sugar, honey, molasses, banana, starfruit, floral, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, spice, nutty.
Palate: Brown sugar, sugar cane, honey, nougat, treacle, dried fruit, orange zest, cinnamon, pepper, green pepper, black pepper, spice, peppermint, cut grass, wood.
Finish: Cola, lemon, tobacco, spicy, pepper, creamy, smooth, gentle fade.


Double-Gold Medal
Double-Gold medal



Wigle Deep Cut Cask Strength Organic Rye



Feisty Monongahela Style Rye



Feisty
Monongahela Style
Feisty Spirits Distillery (Colorado)

Nose: Toffee, caramel, honey, vanilla, sugar cane, grain, cinnamon, lemony, citrus, apple, green apple, herbal, floral, walnuts.
Palate: Tropical fruit, grape, cherry, plum, apricot, herbs, black pepper, coffee, nougat, nutty, walnuts, tobacco, sherry, charred oak, wood barrel, sweet wood, woody.
Finish: Creamy, vanilla, sweet caramel apple, pepper, smooth, clean, superb.

Double-Gold Medal
Double-Gold medal



GOLD MEDAL WINNERS:

Roundstone
92 Proof
Catoctin Creek Distilling (Virginia)

Nose: Cocoa, vanilla, cloves, green tea leaves, cut grass, floral, subtle.
Palate: Honey, vanilla, pistachio, banana, date, fig, dried dark fruit, walnuts, herbal tea, herbs, peppermint, spice, toast, leather, zesty, lovely wood.
Finish: Spice, peppery, rye, grain, medium.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Roundstone Rye 92 Proof



Legs Diamond Aged Rye



Legs Diamond
Aged Rye
Nahmias et Fils Distillery (New York)

Nose: Molasses, honey, caramel, caramel corn, butter cookie, cream, citrus, walnut, clove, nutmeg, white pepper, black pepper, slight mint, leather, charred oak, light peat.
Palate: Green apple, dried fruit, toffee, nougat, rye flour, nutty, leather, oaky, gentle, delicious.
Finish: Toast, pepper, light, smooth, delicate, well balanced, delicious.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Dark Horse Reunion
Barrel Strength
Dark Horse Distillery (Kansas)

Nose: Toffee, honey, caramel, cola, sarsaparilla, cherry, banana, apple, lemon, nutmeg, herbal, roasted filberts, tree bark.
Palate: Sugar cane, honey, caramel, creamy, buttery, nougat, empire red apple, ginger, green pepper, spicy, walnuts, grain, oak.
Finish: Spice, pepper, zesty, light grassy, grain, hint of maple syrup, wood, very smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Dark Horse Reunion Barrel Strength Rye



John Jacob Rye



John Jacob
Fremont Mischief Distillery (Washington)

Nose: Light citrus, sugar cane, dried fruits, nuts, dried grain, flour, mint, white pepper.
Palate: Honey, buttery, vanilla, caramel, toffee, light maple syrup, cherry, prune, dried fruit, pistachio, clove, spice.
Finish: Creamy, spicy, tobacco, slightly smoky, smooth, delicate.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Elk Rider
Heritage Distilling Co. (Washington)

Nose: Honey, brown sugar, molasses, banana, coconut, poppy seeds, nuts, grain.
Palate: Cherry, apricot, dried fruit, molasses, mint, spice, clove, black pepper, black tea, bark, mineral, zesty, assertive.
Finish: Zesty, mint, light pepper, nice, smooth, gentle.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Elk Rider Rye



Redemption Barrel Proof Rye



Redemption
Barrel Proof
Bardstown Barrel Selections (Kentucky)

Nose: Vanilla, toffee, honey, molasses, cola, cherry, caramel, fresh baked cookies, cotton candy, egg nog, wheat, green apple, herbal, fresh.
Palate: Molasses, brittle, butterscotch, nougat, maple syrup, cherry, pine resin, black olive, cinnamon, clove, spicy, toasted oak.
Finish: Zesty spice, peppery, black pepper, dried mango, buttery, cinnamon, cloves, grain, oak, rich.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Ceran St. Vrain's Taos Lightning
KGB Spirits (New Mexico)

Nose: Honey nectar, honey, brown sugar, caramel, cherry, dark fruit, prune, light strawberry, orange, ginger, cereal, grain, oak, mahogany, tobacco, leather.
Palate: Honey, molasses, vanilla, toffee, plums, orange, citrus, apple, ginger, peppery, spice, tobacco, resin, woody, oaky.
Finish: Buttery, spice, pepper, umami, savory, smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Ceran St. Vrain's Taos Lightning Rye



Five Fathers Pure Malt Rye



Five Fathers
Pure Rye Malt Whiskey
The Old Pogue Distillery (Kentucky)

Nose: Dried fruit, banana, orange liqueur, molasses, nutmeg, clove. nutty, rye bread, flour, maple, oak, woody.
Palate: Plums, dark fruit, dried fruit, honey, vanilla, raw sugar, chocolate, cocoa, black licorice, nutmeg, roasted nuts, nutty, clove, allspice, peppery, hot pepper, spicy.
Finish: Spicy, pepper, toffee, buttery, grain, citrus, tobacco, zesty.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Wigle Small Cask Series
Bottle Proof Organic
Wigle Whiskey (Pennsyvania)

Nose: Sweet apple, caramel, toffee, molasses, Vienna fingers, pound cake, nutty, white pepper, dried tobacco, leather, woody.
Palate: Sugar cane, molasses, chocolate, cinnamon, Grand Marnier, roasted nuts, slightly nutty, malty, grain, oak, cigar tobacco.
Finish: Cherry, spicy, tobacco, smooth, mild.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Wigle Small Cask Series Bottle Proof Organic Rye



Stein Distillery Straight Rye



Stein Distillery
Straight Rye
(Oregon)

Nose: Citrus, ripe orange, apricot, nutty, grain, honey, sugar cane, fermented corn, oak, mint.
Palate: Creamy, buttery, brown sugar, nougat, orange, ginger, mint, spicy, herb, roasted nuts, toast, woody, oak, leather.
Finish: Honey, grain, slight oak, light, smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal





Ole George
Grand Traverse Distillery (Michigan)

Nose: Cherry, berries, apricot, honey, sugar cane, citrus, grape, ginger, basil, herbs, almond, fresh cut grass, cedar.
Palate: Toffee, caramel, nougat, cream, vanilla, honey, dried fruit, cocoa, mint, spice, pepper, caraway, almond, walnut, oak, leather.
Finish: Creamy, buttery, honey, citrus, toasted.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Ole George Rye



Copper Fox Rye



Copper Fox
Copper Fox Distillery (Virginia)

Nose: Vanilla, toffee, brown sugar, butterscotch, buttery, sweet red bell pepper, mint, patchouli, nutty, leather, oak, smoke.
Palate: Plums, banana, vanilla, toasted rye, pepper, clove, ginger, coffee, nuts, hint of peat, burnt wood, charred oak, woody.
Finish: Dried fruit, toast, nutty, tobacco, tanned leather, subtle, elegant.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Gunpowder
New England Distilling (Maine)

Nose: Brown sugar, cinnamon, floral, basil, mint, clove, licorice, leather, smoky.
Palate: Dried fruit, vanilla, butterscotch, roasted nuts, walnut oil, walnut, clove, green apple, citrus, dried tea leaves, musk, oak, wood, smoke, very smooth.
Finish: Dried cherries, tea, creamy, flour, toast, nutty, pepper, mild spice, nice, smooth, exciting.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Gunpowder Rye

 

 

 

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