• Old Overholt Bonded
  • 100 proof
  • Jim Beam $20-30
  • Rittenhouse Rye Bottled-in-Bond
  • 100 proof
  • Heaven Hill $20-30

For this blind tasting, I decided to go with four 100 proof rye whiskeys, all priced in that $20-30 range with the exception of the Knob Creek Twice Barreled Rye, which is $35 and up. Once again, my buddy Blake and I were the tasters and Mike Veach was the day’s whiskey maestro. Mike set us up with all four expressions in the same numerical order. Our mission was simply to rank our favorites in order and guess which rye was in each glass (guessing did not go well, one out of four ain’t bad though right?) 

Since the weather was nice we decided to hit Mike’s front porch, one of my favorite tasting spots. For me, rye whiskey is best enjoyed on a beautiful spring/summer day. Being an 80’s latchkey kid, I lived for the outdoors and rye whiskey with those grassy, earthy notes, overflows me with nostalgia of those days.

Now, which one of these bottles would I grab on my way to a hiking or fishing trip? For the first time, Blake and I both agreed on the same expression, which ended up being Old Overholt. I found it to have the simplicity I enjoy in a rye, but with hints of anise and a touch of honeysuckle, both of which I found delightfully interesting.

Mike told me beforehand that he’d bet on me picking the Overholt; I’m still puzzled on how he worked that magic out, but hey he’s the whiskey wizard.

Knob Creek came in a very close second yet Blake and I both agreed that it was a bit too oak forward on the palate, but lent itself very nicely to the finish. Would I pay the extra $10+ for Knob Creek? Nah, if I’m going to buy a $40 Knob Creek it has to be the 9-year-old.

Honestly, I’m very surprised at how this session turned out. I would’ve guessed Ole’ Fo’ Rye would be my clear favorite, but this is what makes these blind tastings so much damn fun. When the label’s off and all you have is your palate, who knows what whiskey you might love! Cheers!

Photo courtesy of Michael Veach