Redemption Rye Whiskey , Batch 097
Redemption Rye whiskey is another of those ubiquitous whiskies seen on the shelves of most retail stores and a good number of bars. This is a sourced whiskey brought to the market by Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, a distributor primarily focused on wines, with labels such as Yellow Tail, Hob Nob, Skyfall, and Peter Lehman. Deutsch also produces Luksuskowa vodka and Redemption Rye Whiskey, but needless to say, they are not distilling the Redemption Rye whiskey. At least they are upfront about the fact that they source their whiskey from Lawrenceville, Indiana (MGP) and that it is batched and barreled in Bardstown Kentucky at Bardstown Barrel Selections. Kudos for the honesty!
According to their website fact sheet, Redemption Rye is made with a high rye content and aged in new charred American oak barrels. Deutsch also discloses that the age of their whiskies is less than four years old! Each bottle also includes batch and bottle number information. From there they go on with typical marketing drivel, emphasizing that MGP has a 168-year history…like that has any bearing on this particular whiskey,
Anyway, here we have another MGP-produced rye whiskey – some of which are very, very good, by the way! As MGP produces these whiskies to the buyer’s specific recipe, even though these rye whiskies might share a distillery, they can be vastly different. Let’s see how this one stacks up!
Review: Redemption Rye Whiskey, Bottled 2012, Batch 097, Bottle No. 2212, 46% abv
Nose: (Neat) A rather dense nose full of rye spices, soft brown sugar, oak, and hints of black cherry. Sweet caramel, floral notes, coconut, soft spices and hints of sharp pepper and tangy lemon. Water brings out a big “bourbon-esque” corn sweetness. It maintains a reasonable balance between the sweetness and the rye spice notes that arrive later. Brown sugar, maple, marbled rye toast, honey, dried floral notes.
Taste: A sweet and somewhat delicate arrival. Coconut, sweet berries, with brown sugar and honey – still “bourbony”, There is a touch of lemon juice. Then the rye notes arrive adding a soft spice and a floral, grassy aspect that rides on top of the sweeter notes. With water, again, quite a sweet arrival that fades rather soon, allowing the rye notes to rise in prominence. A bit of a soft citric zest also shows up.
Finish: Sweet, but not too sweet, a blast of the rye spice. Remains delicate, with lemon, and then a drying oakiness.
Overall: I just can’t escape the sense that this is more of a bourbon than a rye. Despite the labeling, and the marketing material claim that this is a high rye content whiskey, it lacks some of the bold, floral spiciness that I look for in a good rye. For me, the nose on the redemption Rye is the best aspect of this whiskey, because here is where the rye profile shows up most. On the palate, the whiskey starts out sweet, the rye spice notes arrive, then fade, and all the while that corn sweetness continues to play across the palate. Honestly, if I didn’t know it, I’d have said that this one has a much higher corn ratio in the mashbill than claimed because the sweetness is just so prominent. Sure, there is a nicely spiced aspect, but it really comes across as a middle of road rye designed to appeal to bourbon drinkers without offending them with an excessively spicy, high rye content. Redemption Rye is a good, but not great, rye whiskey; enjoyably inoffensive to a bourbon drinker, but it certainly won’t excite any true rye fans.
Region: United States
Distillery: Midwest Grain Products (MGP), Lawrenceville, IN
Bottler: Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits
Type: Rye Whiskey
Age: less than 4 years
Maturation: new charred American oak
Price: $27 (2013), $26 (2017)
Availability: Always available
Sample Source: My own bottle