Thursday, November 26, 2015

Redemption Rye Whiskey

Although I try my best to ignore it, sometimes I can't help but notice that oddly shaped or different bottle sitting on the shelves. Perhaps that's why I've always been aware of Redemption Rye but have never actually tried it. It's tall, slender bottle makes it both literally and figuratively stand out from all the other whiskeys. Up until now, though, it hadn't quite been enough to cause me to pluck a bottle off the shelf.

I went to my local liquor store looking for a relatively inexpensive bottle for the night, and I had rye on my mind. So, it was finally time to give Redemption Rye a chance. Bottled by Bardstown Barrel Selections, but distilled by MGP in Indiana, Redemption is a high-rye rye, with a mashbill consisting of 95% rye.

The nose was a gave off the traditional rye spice aromas, with a bit of a cloves scent as well. It's a 92 proof rye, so the alcohol was not strong on the nose.

The most noticeable thing upon first sipping this whiskey is its sweetness. It has a strong brown sugar flavor up front, which was unexpected and shocked the palate a bit. That overly-sweet flavor, though, gave way pretty quickly to the rye spice. That first sip was very tasty and really warmed the chest. My immediate impression was that for an inexpensive, young rye (only aged "Less Than 4 Years"), this was a pretty decent whiskey.

As I worked my way through this bottle, I remained impressed with the flavor of such a young whiskey. It had no alcohol heat, but plenty of spice. The more I drank, the more the cinnamon tones came through. At one point the cinnamon seemed to come on so strong I likened it to chewing on a cinnamon stick. It was that same kind of woody, cinnamon flavor that permeated the whiskey, forcing the brown sugar aside. 

I enjoyed this bottle from beginning to end, even as it evolved the way it did. It started off very sweet, and it ended very spicy, but it remained a very tasty and flavorful rye throughout. Although it was not complex, and although it came across a bit watery in texture, this was nonetheless a very enjoyable rye and a good value.

Not to editorialize, but it's been my experience that many distilleries, including young, upstart craft distilleries, are able to make good rye whiskeys. It's making a "great" rye, however, that appears to be elusive. Redemption falls into the former category of good ryes produced by smaller companies (or, at least, sourced by smaller companies). I can't say for certain I'd go to the store again with the intention of grabbing a bottle, but if I found myself at a bar where Redemption is an option, there's a good chance it could end up in my glass.

Grade: B

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