Welcome to another episode of Whisky You Can Drink, wherein I drink whisky and tell you about it. Your latest entry is Old Forester Rye, an American whisky sans the “e,” which clocks in at a healthy 100 proof. I paid $25 for this bottle at regular price, which is why you can drink it.
Most ryes seem to be at one or the other of the extremes, either just barely above the 50% rye legally required to be called “rye,” or 95% rye. Old Forester walks the middle ground, with a mash bill of 65% rye, 15% corn, and 20% malted barley. Apparently the high malt content means there are no extra enzymes needed to encourage fermentation. I have no clue what difference that makes, because I don’t geek out at that level.
What’s it smell like? It’s fruity, like peach or pear, but also heavy, like if they were baked with butter and brown sugar and allspice. It is slightly floral, but more incense-y, like sandalwood or lavender, or maybe even a clove cigarette. It’s vaguely reminiscent of Opium or Raffinee, those popular perfumes from the 80’s. The smells are soft, yet a bit sharp at the same time.
What’s it taste like? Imagine you made something like an orange spiced cider, but then put a healthy dose of red pepper flakes in it. It’s citrusy, fruity, spicy, and hot all at once. It’s one of those big, round tastes that you can feel in your whole head. It’s oily, then astringent, with a finish like those fruit-flavored honey straws, followed by banana. After a couple of pours, you might start to get that numb feeling on your tongue, with a hint of anisette. With literally four drops of water, you can start to bring out the eucalyptus and the more earthy, grassy flavors of Bulleit Rye.
Should you buy it? Don’t let me tell you what to do with your money. I can’t even fucking figure out where to put the gratuitous fucking swearing in this fucking thing.
Will I buy it again? I’m going to say yes. I’ve been casually drinking this bottle without paying a lot of attention to what’s happening, but now that I have, I like it quite a bit. It does not really feel like an August-type whiskey, however. It feels like more of a watching-football-during-chilly-weather drink, and a good change of pace from the Bourbon of the Month.