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Another controversy: High Rye Bourbons are not spicier than Traditional Bourbons

This is a bit more technical. A discussion for those who feel quite confident in spirits [well, you might be also a bit geeky]:

If you are reading articles about Bourbon you will earlier or later stumble upon one "golden rule": Straight Bourbons with high rye contents in their mash bill are said to be spicier. And traditional Straight Bourbons supposed to be more balanced [and wheated Bourbons supposed to be a bit softer and sweeter].
Well - I do agree about the softer character of wheated bourbons. Most of us will have wheated bourbons in mind, which are exactly like it: Maker's Mark, Larcency or Pappy van Winkle (...).

However - I am confused about the others. Lets list some of them:

Bourbons with high rye content:

  • Four Roses
  • Basil Hayden
  • Old Grand Dad
  • Bulleit
  • Old Forrester
Bourbons with traditional [rather high corn content] mashbill:
  • Jim Beam
  • Jack Daniel's (yeah, I know, it is Tennessee, however still is covered by the Straight Bourbon administration laws)
  • George Dickel (as Jack Daniel's, a Tennessee Bourbon)
  • Wild Turkey
  • Woodford Reserve
  • Evan Williams
  • Elijah Craig
  • Buffalo Trace
  • Woodford Reserve
  • Fighting Cock
  • Knob Creek
  • Booker's
Well - the second category could go on and on.

But here is the problem: at least two of the high rye bourbons are real "soft-talkers" [Four Roses and Basil Hayden] and some of the traditional [high corn] bourbons are real rowdies [if it comes to aromas].
Especially Wild Turkey is really spicy and the rye is really coming out quite obvious. But also Jack Daniel's in not sweet and smooth [lets forget for a moment Booker's, which is due to its cask strength anyway a real rowdy].

So my opinion is that: Bourbon cannot really be characterized by taste, if it is made with a high rye or high corn content.

I really have to try some more whiskeys to proof it to my self. But in my eyes the rule isn't applying, if in fact 2 of 5 popular high rye bourbons are not as they supposed to be.

Please guys help me to understand... please comment below!


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