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Bourbon with high rye content?

I'm getting to that time of year where I stock up on whatever spirits I'm running low on, and I was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction of a particular sort of bourbon I'm looking for.

I'll usually just have one of any type of spirit in my house at a time, so as far as American whiskey goes, I like to have something that's well-rounded and versatile, that can hold up well in cocktails, but that could also be drunk neat. And while I'm willing to spend some money on something that's worth it, I prefer not to go for something that's too expensive if it's going to be a day to day sort of whiskey (I'd generally choose something that's a good value at a moderate price point than something that's exceptional at a premium price point)

Lately I've been drinking Buffalo Trace, which is well-rounded and which I'm enjoying very much, but it's also a very...bourbony bourbon, if that makes sense. So I was wondering if there were any bourbons that have a spiciness that you'd get from rye. I'm not really looking for a rye whiskey, since those tend to be too heavy and overbearing for me; I'm more interested in a bourbon that has a significant rye presence.

Does such a thing exist? I know Bulleit bourbon has a substantial rye presence, although I haven't had the chance to try it. Anything else that folks can suggest?

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  1. Elijah Craig 12 yr. I would also recommend the Bulleit bourbon.

    There are a couple excellent ryes I would recommend that aren't overbearing and are quite sippable - Sazerac 6 yr (if you can find it) and Bulleit Rye, which is actually remarkably well-rounded despite its 95% rye mashbill.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ncyankee101

      Totally agree about the Elijah Craig - it goes for about $18 a bottle around here and as such, it's my basic go-to bourbon that I try to always have in the home bar. Also agree about the Bulleit. Is it just me, or is the Bulleit Rye actually a bit less hot and peppery than the regular Bulleit?

    2. I can vouch for both Bulleit bottles. Also, Redemption make a high rye bourbon (as well as a regular bourbon and a regular rye) that mixes well, although I'm not sure I'd sip it neat.

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      1. Bulleit. Very rye spicy.

        If you want to shell out some dough, and get a nice bottle in addition to a terrific rye-heavy bourbon, then buy a bottle of Blantons. I add a little water to my glass and let it sit for 5-10 minutes, which I think opens it up a great deal. One of my absolute favorite bourbons.

          1. re: tj442x

            Basil Hayden might be a decent Bourbon (though it is not my personal taste) but it has almost no rye spice to it. I had it once and it was so mild I thought it was a lowland Scotch.

            1. re: ncyankee101

              I agree about the flavor, but it is a bit odd because Basil Hayden actually has a very high rye content in the mash bill, supposedly as much as double the amount in any of the other Beam small batch bourbons. For a bourbon with such a high amount of rye, I'd expect more of a bracing hot and spicy attack, but like you said, I find it to be fairly mild, which isn't a knock on it by any measure, I actually enjoy it a great deal.

              1. re: The Big Crunch

                Funny story about the Basil hayden - I was at a wedding and the groom's brother told me he was drinking "George Thorogood Scotch" - turned out what he meant was they were drinking Bourbon, Scotch and beer. He let me taste what he has in his glass and I thought for sure it was a mild Scotch, but later found out it was the BH.

                Much spicier in the Beam family is the Old grand dad 114, one of my absolute favorite Bourbons.

                1. re: ncyankee101

                  Agree completely on Old Grand Dad 114, a great high-rye bourbon at a good price. Basil Haden is really just watered down, overpriced Old Grand Dad

          2. I'm a big fan of Knob Creek - it's Jim Beam's high-rye mashbill, and it's one of my favorite sipping bourbons.

            1 Reply
            1. re: sdwr98

              Knob Creek is Beam's regular mashbill, same as Jim Beam White and Black. The high rye goes into Old Grand-Dad and Basil Hayden.

            2. Hmm...figured I'd report back on my results. I appreciate the input, and I was going to go with Bulleit, although I eventually caved and went with an actual rye (Rittenhouse 100) as well as a bourbon. I realized that since there are a decent number of cocktails you need rye to make, then even if I'm just going to be mixing with it, it's better to have the genuine article than to go halfway.

              I'm still going to investigate Bulleit further down the line, though, since I'm sooner or later I'll find myself buying whiskey again. Thanks again.

              1. Try Four Roses, the B mash bill and also do try the Bulleit. They use the 35% rye mash bill B from Four Roses to make their bourbon

                Also agree with ncyankee and sku about the OGD 114.

                1. Personally, I am not much on rye-heavy bourbons, but if you like them, I would defintately go with Bulleit bourbon. I tried a bottle once, and I can vouch that it is VERY spicy, dry, and rye-heavy. I thought Bulleit had an even heavier rye profile than even Wild Turkey, which is famous for its rye-heaviness. A buddy of mine likes rye heavy bourbons, and he swears by Wild Turkey 101 rye. Cheers.