Bulleit Rye and High West Double Rye Bottles

What’s a rye fan to do? Demand for rye whiskey is so high that the top three brands struggle to meet supply. These days when Rittenhouse 100, Wild Turkey Rye 101 or Sazerac appear in a store they sell out in days. I wonder if things might be easier in Kentucky but here in California rye lovers are buying cases to keep themselves stocked through the dry periods. This just makes the situation worse for casual buyers looking to experience rye whiskey.

Luckily Bulleit and High West have answered the call by releasing new ryes that just hit store shelves in California. Welcome newcomers to a market that is desperate for quality products.

Bulleit Rye is only the second product in their portfolio, a welcome addition to their popular bourbon, which is produced by Four Roses. It features a high rye content, a quality that makes it one of my go-to bourbons. When word first hit that they would be making a rye everyone was curious if Four Roses might be producing it for them, (wouldn’t that be cool?). It looks like Bulleit has sourced their rye from LDI, (Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana), similar to a few other ryes on the market. Bulleit showcases LDI’s familiar 95% rye 5% malted barley mashbill that is reportedly aged four to seven years. At 95 proof it should make a good alternative to other overproof ryes for cocktails.

On the palate the Bulleit Rye offers some nice upfront spice, the flavor settling shows a nice oak maturation. It strikes a nice balance of showcasing the wild spirit of a young rye upfront with a well-rounded finish of a more aged product. Hovering around $22 this will most likely become the go-to rye for bartenders when the usual suspects are sold out. I found the product quite enjoyable to sip and I look forward to making cocktails with it.

High West brings us Double Rye, their second all rye blend released to complement their Rendezvous Rye. Double Rye blends a 2-year rye with a 95% rye mashbill (sound familiar?) and a 16-year rye that is reported to have a 53% rye mashbill. It is rumored that the 16-year rye used in this blend is not the same whiskey that is in the Rendezvous or High West’s 16-year rye. The 2-year rye is also sourced from LDI, a fact that will no doubt leave rye geeks questioning if it’s  the same stock that is used in another rye on the market: Redemption Rye. The Redemption is a 2-year rye with an identical mashbill that is also sourced from LDI.

I believe this is where High West’s proprietor David Perkins’ talent comes in. There is a reason Malt Advocate awarded him the prestigious Pioneer of the Year award. Having sampled Redemption I found it’s an excellent product for its young age, but it’s profile lacked to make it something I would buy on a regular basis. Taking a stellar but young rye and finishing it off with a more aged product sounds so right it’s a wonder no one else thought of it before.

Sampling off the cuff with no comparison the Double Rye reminded me of Templeton Rye but shared similarities with Redemption, too. I found the whiskey very floral with a bit of spice but the finish is mellow, hinting of caramel and vanilla. This is truly a rye that stands on its own with unique characteristics, a welcome addition to my collection. It’s no wonder Malt Advocate has already given this a rating of 93. At $32 a bottle, it’s High West’s most affordable product but maybe a tad expensive to be a everyday mixing rye.

Overall, it was a great day to be a rye fan, a Christmas in March. With its price point, Bulleit Rye looks to become my go-to cocktail rye when Rittenhouse 100 is not available. Variety is the spice of life, for that reason alone I will always keep a bottle of Double Rye on hand. Another great foray from High West, I look forward to many more of their great products. I would recommend either of these products for rye aficionados.


3 comments to “Two new ryes hit the scene, Bulleit Rye and High West Double Rye”

  1. Jay W

    Stumbled upon this post this morning as I tried to find a place to buy Bulleit Rye by the bottle. I saw the distinct green label last night at Club Deluxe in the Haight, and finally got to taste it. But now I want more.

    Any tips on where to get ahold of either of these ryes in SF? Especially looking forward to the High West Double Rye that I have yet to taste.

  2. Jay W

    And I’ve answered my own question… K&L apparently has both in stock in both SF and Redwood City locations. Hope to see these in more bars soon though!

  3. filip

    Jay, K&L is your best bet. Cask should have it too. Made a mean old-fashioned with it tonight.


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