Monday, March 9, 2015
Brown Forman has a mixed legacy when it comes to rye whiskey. On the one hand, for years after the 1996 fire that destroyed the Heaven Hill Distillery, Brown Forman made Rittenhouse Rye. Rittenhouse is great rye, and it really became a popular mainstream brand during the period that it was being produced using Brown Forman whiskey.
On the other hand, the only rye under the Woodford label was a pair of ryes released as part of the 2011 Woodford Reserve Master's Collection, one aged in new, charred oak and another aged in used barrels. Most of the Master's Collection releases range from mediocre to terrible. The ryes may have been more on the mediocre side, but that's not saying much.
So I was a bit apprehensive when I heard that Brown Forman would release a straight rye whiskey under the Woodford Reserve label. Would this be similar to the old BF Rittenhouse or would this be like the earlier Woodford ryes?
The new Woodford rye is a non-age statement straight rye made from a mashbill of 53% rye, 33% corn and 14% malted barley.
Woodford Reserve Rye, 45.2% abv ($40)
The nose has a nice rye spice on it, a promising beginning. The palate comes on with nice, sweet rye spice, then the spice starts to fade a bit and it gets very sweet and settles into a candy finish with a touch of spice.
All in all, this is pretty decent. The nose and early palate are great, but it gets a little too sweet for me by midpalate. Still, a good rye that offers a slightly different profile from the other standard ryes that are out there. It's certainly worth trying.
Thanks to John Burlowski for the sample.