Whiskey Review: Redemption Rye - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Redemption Rye

Redemption RyeThe tall, cylindrical bottles, the charmingly modern labeling, and the hand-written batch and bottle numbers all conspire to suggest that Redemption offers a fine, rare breed of whiskey.

In reality, Redemption Rye is distilled among a long list of other products at Midwest Grain Products of Indiana (MGP, the distillery formerly owned by LDI, and before that by Seagram’s) such as Bulleit Rye and Templeton Rye. Redemption itself is owned by Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits along with at least a couple dozen other brands. They buy the barrels from MGP and haul them to Bardstown, Kentucky for bottling—so at least you know that the whiskey has been within the borders of the Bluegrass State at some point.

This is all something the folks behind Redemption point out, so we will cut them some slack on that despite mixed feelings on MGP sourcing. Besides, if it tastes good, who cares how the sausage is made?

Unfortunately, I don’t have many positive comments about Redemption Rye, and I’ve never really bought into the advice of Thumper’s mother. I suppose one could make a case that it’s bold and spicy and rugged or that it serves well in a nostalgic cocktail (because, eh, it has alcohol in it). The label calls it “feisty”—indeed, swallowing it is a struggle unless you ice it down. My take is simple: it’s harsh, underaged, and generally unpleasant.

Tasting Notes:

Vital Stats: 92 proof. Aged about two years in new charred oak. 95% rye and 5% malted barley. $26-30. My bottle is #5939 from batch #219.

Appearance: The raw honey color is lovely.

Nose: The first sniff immediately reminds me of the flavored penicillin I was forced to drink as a child. There are notes of black pepper and licorice, but they’re overwhelmed by acetone.

Palate: Notes of plastic and sour beer (not lambic sour, but warm, flat Natty Ice sour) ruin the experience for me. A friend says it tastes like the carpet in a fraternity house after a rager—I wouldn’t know. There’s something very medicinal and chemical about it. I am intrigued, however, by a wintergreen flavor that appears mid-palate. There’s certainly spiciness, but I get more burn than tingle. A long, hot finish is plagued by more plastic off-notes.

Conclusion:

Don’t be fooled by an attractive label or a “story” (in this case, something about a return to the glory days of pre-prohibition ryes). If you just need something brown with alcohol in it, look on the shelf below this one and save a few bucks. If, on the other hand, the marketing wins you over, just remember to have ice on hand or ingredients for cocktails.

FINAL SCORE: 65/100 [SHOP FOR A BOTTLE OF REDEMPTION RYE]

[graphiq id=”1FOZkbCFrTL” title=”Redemption Rye Whiskey” width=”600″ height=”403″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/1FOZkbCFrTL” link=”https://whiskey.underthelabel.com/l/547/Redemption-Rye-Whiskey” link_text=”Redemption Rye Whiskey | UnderTheLabel”]

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