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1792 High Rye and a Look at Whiskey Geeks

Posted on by Eric Burke

Last week I asked a question that I thought was just going to be a bit of fun. The premise was that Whiskey Geeks complain. It's what we do. As a friend of mine once said while giving a bourbon talk, "we're a bitchy lot." 

And it's true. We whiskey geeks are a passionate, opinionated people. If you ask a whiskey "expert" how you should take your bourbon, the answer will range from "drink it any damn way you want," to "no, here's the type of glass you should use and the setting you should be in." And that's just if the topic is ice. If you ask them about soda...Well, let's just say I almost had a bartender in Louisville start to tear up as he recounted a customer asking for a Pappy and Coke.

About the only topic that causes as much consternation is flippers. Geeks bitch about flippers. They bitch constantly and conspicuously. Partly it's because flippers contribute to a market where those who wants to drink a whiskey can no longer find it through legal channels or for anywhere near MSRP. Partly it's because a good portion of those people conspicuously bitching are just over-compensating for their own flipping. 

So that's where things sat when I asked which people would rather see. I thought it would be a little fun, a few people would vote, and we'd get some laughs. What I didn't expect was to have to turn off comments on the post. I didn't expect every comment that came in to be an attack on those people participating. I saw "mouth-breathers." I saw "big-brother." I saw "Marxist." Eventually, I had enough and made one scolding comment and shut the rest off. The idea of whiskey geeks being whiskey geeks seemed to have touched a nerve. 

One thing I never did was answer the question myself. And for me, the answer is easy. I'd much rather see someone truly enjoy a Pappy with Coke than see someone keep another from enjoying a bottle by flipping it. And it seems that most of you agreed with me. As of this writing, 73% of respondents voted the same way. 11% hated polls and thought that voting was stupid. Leaving only 17% of people who'd rather the price of a particular bottle get jacked through the roof than see it wasted with soda. For the record, there is no right answer...which is what makes it so much fun to argue about it.

So that's a recap. But let's turn away from what other people do with a limited edition whiskey and turn our thoughts to what we'd all like to do with one. Drink it. Tonight it's Valentine's Day, so it is appropriate that we are celebrating with one that my wife loves. 

1792 High Rye

Purchase Info: 49.99 for a 750 mL bottle at Ace Spirits, Hopkins, MN

Details: 47.15% ABV. According to the company's website. This uses "a much higher percentage of rye as the secondary grain than most bourbons do." 

Nose: Butterscotch, custard, cinnamon, mint and a pleasant nuttiness. 

Mouth: Sweet and spicy with allspice, butterscotch and hints of mint and banana. 

Finish: On the longer side of medium, with very little burn. Lingering mint and banana. 

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Thoughts: Like I said above, my wife loves this. She put a little heart as her rating in her tasting journal. Me? I like this a lot, but I'm not quite ready to give it a heart just yet. It's very close, though. 

As I was finishing the tasting, thoughts of banana bread popped into my head. This is sweet with baking spices and hints of banana, so that isn't an outrageous comparison. And personally I love banana bread, so this is a compliment. I do know that some people react negatively to banana notes in their bourbon so be aware. 

Like I said, for $50, I think this is a great whiskey and worth the price they are getting for it. I'd feel differently if they were asking $75 for it, though. 


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For the record, comments are off on this one too. Mostly because it's the same topic and I hate getting the emails that are full of spite and hatred. It's a bit of a gut-punch to an otherwise nice day. It's whiskey...it's not worth all the anger.