What is rye whiskey? Rye whiskey has been around longer than bourbon. Well, at least what we know is bourbon today. Largely made in the Northeast US (Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland) in the 17 and 1800s. It almost disappeared after prohibition when attention was turned to bourbon and Scotch. Canada has historically used rye as their primary grain, along with wheat, giving them a softer, more approachable palate. By contrast, American made rye whiskies are spicy, sweet and very complex.

White Cap Edition – Rossville Union Barrel Strength Rye Whiskey 112.6 Proof

There are not a lot of barrel strength rye whiskies out there. This one was allocated to us a few weeks ago, and we received a whopping two bottles. When I started seeing reviews for this product, I decided it would make a good entry for the 2021 Spirited Holiday Countdown Calendar, because there just isn’t a whole lot of product out there. This is rye is made from 6- and 7-year-old barrels. All from MGP in Indiana. What they were able to put together with this final blend, is, according to the reviewers, pretty remarkable.

  • Glass: Glencairn AND Double Old-Fashioned Glass
  • Temperature: Slight chill at 112.6 proof, she’s a little hot
  • Other Prep: Taste in the Glencairn, then transfer to the Double Old-Fashioned glass
  • JJ’s VIP Price: $63.99/bottle
  • Available: A bottle will be available on next week’s bottle raffle (12/22/2021)

Tom’s Tasting Note: Confession time here, I haven’t tasted this one. I am relying on you to give me your opinion on this bottle. You should find a fruit forward palate with loads of spice, candied fruit and apricots. Please drop your review below in the comments!

Black Cap Edition – Knob Creek Single Barrel Rye – JJ’s Single Barrel 3rd Edition

Another situation where I am not really sure who got the best of this sampling. Because this Knob Creek Single Barrel is delicious. Selected back in April sitting around the dinner table at my parents’ house after we had just selected MQS75 Single Barrel Knob Creek Bourbon (in the photo, but no longer available). Our Single Barrel rye whiskies are notoriously slow movers, but that is OK. We like having them around because the cocktail potential is limitless.

  • Glass: Glencairn AND Double Old-Fashioned Glass
  • Temperature: Slight chill at 115.0 proof, she’s also a little hot
  • Other Prep: Taste in the Glencairn, then transfer to the Double Old-Fashioned glass
  • JJ’s VIP Price: $51.99/bottle
  • Available: Yes! And plenty of it!

Tom’s Tasting Note: Admittedly, I am not a big fan of most rye whiskies. So, when it comes to selecting a single barrel, I tend to lean in on what I like about bourbon to select a barrel. In my opinion, this lends to a little more of style that appeals to the bourbon drinker, and the rye enthusiast. Sweet fruit, apricot and white pepper aromas. Very viscous and mouth-filling with loads of fruit at the core and long, spicy finish.