Redemption – 7 Year Old – Barrel Proof – Batch 5 – Straight Rye Whiskey | 61.6% (123.2 Proof) $79.99 – $99.99 (here)
Whisky generously provided by Redemption Rye
Color/Appearance: Burnt sienna and terra-cotta. Nice depth of color but with a seven year old rye it is also expected. Redemption bottles rye produced by MGPI of Indiana. But since MGPI makes most of the rye around it’s pretty normal for your rye to come originally from them. Redemption’s barrel proof line has garnered some serious attention recently and they have steadily expanded their premium rye line to include six, seven and ten year old bottlings. Redemption’s operation seems to have little online presence and this lack of ego is refreshing. I can only hope this means they are just focusing on buying the best barrels of rye they can and bottling them with little fuss. The short squat utilitarian bottle has the entire top covered in thick black wax. It gives it a serious foreboding look. That combined with a sizable label obscure your vision of what is inside. Really hurts when you look carefully and find that you have little left. I like the modern simple type design and restrained color palette. Let’s dive into this cask strength beast of a rye.
Nose: Sarsaparilla soda, vanilla, a recently varnished oak cabinet, ground black pepper, rye bread crust, salt water taffy, a dry regular flavored bubble gum stick, flour on a wooden cutting board, and a pine forest in late summer with a distant campfire. A perfect rye nose with more and more interesting notes arising over time. Take all night exploring this one and you will be rewarded.
Palate: Spicy butterscotch, hot maple syrup, orange cherry flavored gumdrops, licorice, and mandarin orange tea. It has a great creamy rounded mouthfeel that lets the rye spice and intensity shine without being too singular. The strength is really not a factor as it has little burn especially for something of this proof. Though I do seem to favor it with four or five drops of water to open things up.
Finish: Great long lasting finish. Spicy warmth with cardamon, red and black pepper, wintermint, dry barrel wood, char and an almost tingly feeling akin to Sichuan peppercorns. Good rye at barrel proof rarely lacks in the finish with lingering flavors for ages and this is no different. Well done.
Overall: Full throttle rye perfectly executed. It is a rye’s rye firing on all cylinders. Spicy warm liquid butterscotch. Most of the other barrel proof rye’s in this price range are single barrel, and at first I thought this one’s small batch status might hold it back, but I was mistaken. The mix of barrels rounds out the flavor and gives depth that a single cask might achieve, but generally will not. Apparently mixing a group of single barrels that could stand on their own into a small batch can produce some magic. The only thing holding this back from further heights is the price. It is priced high for its age with some serious quality competition from Smooth Ambler single barrel offerings at significantly lower prices. And sits almost evenly priced with Willett’s ryes. I have some reviews upcoming of both of these competitors and we will see who comes out on top. But even being in the conversation with those other heavyweights of the rye universe is a serious accomplishment. I yearn to try the ten year old expression and to follow along with Redemption on their future rye endeavors. It is nice to have another serious rye out there and I can only hope in the years to come there will be some longer aged ryes making their way to the market. Thanks goes out to Redemption Rye for providing the whiskey used for this review.