Last night’s Tuesday tasting brought four rye whiskies to the table—Templeton Rye (80 proof), Masterson’s 10-Year-Old Straight Rye (90 proof), Hudson Manhattan Rye <4-Year-Old (92 proof), and Whistlepig 10-Year-Old Straight Rye (100 proof). A few weeks ago, we tasted another collection of rye whiskies and the group last night was equally diverse.
We always begin our tastings with the lower proof and work our way up to the stronger stuff. The difference between an 80 and a 100 proof drink can be significant, especially when you’re taking a big whiff. We do a nose without water, write notes, then add some cool delicious NYC tap, nose again, write notes, and then finally get a taste.
The two older bottles last eve were big favorites and full of the qualities you want in a rye whiskey. In the case of Whistlepig, 100% percent rye, a first for many of us. Tons of orange blossom, orchid, very slight woodiness. Delicious stuff.
Pitchaya, one of our regular tasters, makes his own bitters and we plan to do a rye cocktail evening soon. The virtues of this or that rye as a cocktail mixer were pondered a good while. A few of the whiskies are so good (and not cheap), it’s hard to imagine adding anything but a bit of cold water and maybe a nice chunk of fresh ice. But rye is the base of so many classic cocktails, it will be fun to see how they hold up.