March 5, 2009

(ri)1 Rye Whiskey Review

ri1_rye_whiskey.jpgNews flash: we love whiskey. Bourbon, rye, Canadian, we just can't get enough of it. We've always felt rye got a bad rap as most people like its sweeter cousins, but the rip roar of rye has its place, especially in a well-crafted cocktail. (ri)1(pronounce it with us, rye-one) is the ultra-premium rye offering from the Jim Beam family.

So how does this new top shelf whiskey hold up? Read on to find out.

(ri)1 Rye Whiskey
92 Proof (46% ABV)
Typical Price: About $50 for 750ML

The Look:
The (ri)1 bottle is striking, tall and slender with a hint of orange on the label. The bottle itself looks more like something we would associate with a vodka or something, and stands out from the typically squat and/or boxy bottles of whiskey we see out there.

The Nose:
Taking a whiff of (ri)1, we were immediately struck by how much more refined it was than most people's idea of what rye can be. In our experience, rye can be a bit rougher around the edges with less of the corn and wheat that can smoothen and sweeten bourbon. This drink, however, had notes of honey and spices, and retained the qualities we like in whiskey without punching us in the nose.

The Taste:
For us, rye has always been the peppery cousin of bourbon, and (ri)1 is no exception. It's big and flavorful, with lots of the spice we expect, but not in an overwhelming way. We tried (ri)1 straight, and it was fruity on the uptick, and dry on the finish, and not too overwhelming considering the fact it's a bit higher in proof. The spiciness was counterbalanced by an almost unexpected sweet tinge, and we detected a nearly citrusy tartness. All in all? Damn good.

The Verdict:
We tried (ri)1 in our Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, and Sazeracs, and it held its own quite nicely in each drink without taking over. You might be inclined to say that for the price tag it should be able to do that and wash your car for you, and that's your prerogative. This is a well-crafted spirit with some unexpected layers, and we think any rye enthusiast, or whiskey drinker in general, would be well served to try (ri)1 straight, on the rocks, or in their favorite whiskey cocktail. This is swanky stuff, but even in times like these, sometimes you have to treat yourself.

more at the (ri)1 website

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Posted by Jake Jamieson at March 5, 2009 10:19 PM
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