Friday, May 25, 2007

Last Night's Tipple

Since I've been in a rye mood recently, I decided to break out the Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye. This one shares a number of characteristics with the Wild Turkey Rye that I had a couple of nights ago: the nose is very similar to good Bourbon with lots of vanilla and caramel, but the taste is significantly different: sharper, spicier, racier. This is significantly more polished (read: less rough) than the WT rye, and that's probably mostly due to the greater time in the barrel (13 years rather than 5 or 6). All the Van Winkle bottlings are sufficiently rare that I buy them when I see them, whether I need them or not (well, the bottlings whose prices I can stomach; the 20 and 23 year old Bourbons are too rich for my blood); the first bottle of this that I bought was back in the late '90s or early 2000s. The next time I saw a bottle for sale after that was last year. It's good stuff if you like rye, which I do.

(Incidentally, you can see from the label that this was bottled by the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery. You might conclude from this that there actually is a distillery called Old Rip Van Winkle that makes whiskey. You would be wrong. The whiskey is distilled by Buffalo Trace in Frankfort. I think that Julian Van Winkle still owns the brand and selects the whiskey, but he doesn't distill it or age it.)

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