jeffk wrote:Is there such a thing as bourbon without rye? Anyone have any suggestions for a good american whisk(e)y without any evidence of rye?
IMO, the best bourbon sites are http://www.straightbourbon.com
. A wealth of information and expertise, all good folks. It really is a good idea (and fun) to go there and read some of the more than 20,000 posts to date. As for your question, no problem answering, but first, the digression.
Bourbons have to be made from a mash containing at least 51% corn (maize). The "small" grains include malted barley AND EITHER rye OR wheat but NOT BOTH (except for one, or possibly 2, exceptions: see below.) Most bourbons are made from mashbills containing corn, with rye and malted barley as "small" grains. A smaller number of bourbons are made from mashbills containing corn, with wheat and malted barley as small grains. The new Woodford Reserve Masters Collection Four Grain Kentucky Straight Bourbon is made from corn, with rye, wheat and malted barley as its small grains. The other possible exception to the "rye or wheat but not both" rule of thumb is Corner Creek bourbon: it might contain corn, with rye, wheat and malted barley as small grains, but the folks at http://www.BourbonEnthusiast.com
are currently giving this a good thrashing, so I'm waiting to see how it comes down. Personally, neither of these last two is available to me, so I have no direct knowledge of how they taste.
Now, as to wheaters, I'm sure TNBourbon will give the definitive listing. Meanwhile, there are some excellent choices available. These include all the currently available (not dusty corners) Van Winkle bourbons (10, 12, 15s, 20 and 23 YO), the many W.L. Weller bourbons, the Old Fitzgerald bottlings, the new barrel proof 12 YO William Larue Weller in the current Antique Collection release from Buffalo Trace, and, of course, Maker's Mark releases. Personally, I dislike the standard red wax Maker's, but all the Van Winkles I've tried are varying degrees of outstanding. I have the current Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 15 YO bourbon open now. The 12 YO Very Special Old Fitzgerald is also very good.
And, if you are in one of the 12 states that got some Bernheim Wheat whiskey, the word is that it is excellent. Sadly, I am not in one of those states. But I just finished a nice pour of Spring, 2005 Lot B George T. Stagg bourbon, so I cannot really complain! Good luck in your bourbon adventure and bear in mind that even if you find one or two duds at first, the next one might be spectacular! Cheers, Ed