Rye whiskey is an acquired taste. Well, all spirits are an acquired taste to some extent, at least for normal people; but rye whiskey is even more so. It's sharp and tends toward the harsh, and it doesn't have as much of the vanilla/caramel payoff that Bourbon does. When I first started buying whiskey, I bought rye. I crave novelty; and whatever else it is, rye whiskey is novel. I can't say that I enjoyed it very much. I choked down a bottle of Wild Turkey rye over a period of a few months and decided that it was vile and not worth the money or effort. It took a bad memory, an impressionable mind, and more reading about the virtues of rye for me to be willing to try it again. This time, I bought Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye, and I loved it. I tried WT again, and I loved that, too. Same with Sazerac, Jim Beam rye, and Old Overholt. It's all great stuff, although each is unique.
Another pour of the WT rye last night, and it remains as pleasantly powerful and piquant as it has always been. Among all of the rye whiskeys available in Houston, this offers probably the best balance of quality and value.