This is a review of the Rd Saw Rye Batch 13 which is the first sample of their 30 gallon barrel ryes. It is a significant departure from the younger expressions with the rye/oak ratio being in more balance.
An interesting milestone in their evolution.
Notes: This is yet another expression of the Red Saw Rye, in this case Red Saw Rye Batch 13.
This is the first batch of Rye Whiskey we have as a sample that uses the 30 gallon Char 3 Barrels
Honeoye Falls Distillery is one of the newer distilleries in the Rochester and Finger Lakes area. Located about 30 minutes south of Rochester it is nestled in the hill and drumlins of the Finger Lakes area and draws its water from the nearby Finger Lakes of Canadice and Hemlock Lakes ( both of whom are water supplies also for the city of Rochester and known for the taste ad purity of their water. They use a second generation ( as I call it as significant improvements have been made over the first models) Artisan Still Works stainless steel steam fired still with a column and copper inserts. This is their aged rye spirit called Red Saw Rye made with the same grain mash bill as their vodka but brought off at a lower proof to preserve the flavors and characteristics to a greater degree than the Frozen Falls Vodka and aged in small barrels.
The review of their first attempt Batch one which was aged in 5 gallon barrels for 3 months ( about all you can get from a 5 gallon barrel depending on char level and storage conditions ) is here, The next release that I have reviewed was Batch 4 using 10 gallon barrels and aged for 6-9 months followed by Batch Number 6 , Batch Number 9 (at 14 months of age) and now this Red Saw Rye Batch Number 13 in the ongoing series where I track the evolution of their rye. This batch is from a different barrel size and but at the same char level 3. It is showing significant changes/differences from its slightly younger and significantly smaller siblings as outlined in the notes below.
They also produce an unaged rye by the name of Lantern Light Rye Moonshine, a gin called Devils Bathtub Gin, a barrel aged Gin called Devils Bathtub Rested Gin and an extremely limited release of their Pilot Batch of Bourbon along with their Red Absinthe and a more standard Green Absinthe.
This is their 13th Batch of rye and it was put up in 30 gallon barrels and aged for 14 months in a char level 3 barrel which is over 4 times longer than their first batch in a barrel 1/6 the size of this one. Like everyone else they did this for rapid aging, and prototyping and this has produced a number of interesting samples along the way.
This 30 gallon barrel has significantly lesson to whisky ratio ( not just 1/2 from a 15 gallon barrel – far more complicated than that) and the extra aging allows for more mellowing before it tops out.
Like many others they have since abandoned the use of 5 , 10, 15, and even the 30 gallon barrels are on their way out as they transition to 53 gallon fresh American oak barrels in their quest for longer and better aging of their spirits. Further reviews of later batches using larger barrels and longer aging times are found elsewhere in Spirits Review as they become available. Please use our search function to give them a look !
Notes: The rye is made from 85% very locally grown rye and 15% of the mash bill is a 6 row malted barley from Pioneer Malting, our local Maltster. The Grain is literally grown next door to the distillery – giving it much smaller carbon footprint than many and also locavore .
Appearance: Clear, nice golden color like a honey colored Baltic amber or tree sap. On swirling it coats the glass with a mildly oily coat then starts to show droplets along the edge line which slowly on the retreat of the edge line become small droplets or tears. The color is not much different from batch 9 in a touch or very slight shift towards a red note creeping in
First Impression: Lovely barrel notes , with heavy rye notes with the characteristic sweet and sour, bready notes, traces of heather, barley and mint with more vanilla from the char and a bit more mild and subdued ( in a good way) on the nose.
Taste: A significant bit more mellow than Batch 9 with more pronounced honey and mint notes, woody, spicy, with loads of grain with a slightly drying, nicely warming finish. Despite being one month older than Batch 9 the oak char is less overbalanced than the previous release and is falling more in line with the other notes rather than being out in front.. While still quite a bit of oak char drying fade leaves a more honey mint fade with a nice grain, sweet sour rye at the end.
Drinks: Rye was the predominant spirit in America long before bourbon and was the spirit used in almost all the classic cocktails that use bourbon today such as the Manhattan or Old Fashioned .
With the recent revival of rye we are seeing a resurgence of the use of rye in these cocktails again and retaking its rightful place place in mixing drinks. This rye with its grain forward and well balanced woodiness makes a delightful Manhattan ( please use a fresh and quality vermouth), Old Fashioned , Sazerac , Old Pal or Boulevardier .
The reduction in the oak notes in this rye allows for more of the other elements to shine through and start to add a multilayered complexity that was somewhat buried in previous releases.
Bottle: Clear glass 750 ML bottle that is vaguely apothecary like in nature BUT not the usual bell shaped bottle, with a slightly concave bottom rounded shoulders and a wider lip to the collar both fits the hand and is easy to pick up.The label is distinctive and easy to see at a distance or in poor light and graphics are high quality.This bottle is distinguished from its sister bottle ( of the Red Saw bourbon whiskey) by a cream colored field And capital letters with red and the rest of the letters in black. Bottle is topped by an attractive wooden top and a cream/tan synthetic cork to finish a distinctive and nice looking bottle that sits nicely on a shelf.
Cigars: Great with a Fuente Hemingway Signature or Work of Art either a natural or Maduro wrapper
Final Thoughts: A nice switching up in overall smoothness, bouquet, and overall drinkability. The oak is a bit more than I would prefer but it does work well that way in certain cocktails . Scores are based against similar whiskies of longer age and larger barrel size . Very few distillery do well with young whiskey in small barrels. That fact that it was drinkable and somewhat pleasant and interesting is more than I can say about a number of other local distilleries ( indeed anywhere) when they start making whiskies. This whiskey demonstrates a upward curve in the quality of the rye line and the evolution of skill and care taken.
A well laid out and fast loading site with easy navigation and a fair amount of information. The Honeoye Falls Distilling website needs updating in a few places but is a well done site overall if a bit minimal compared to some