Who doesn’t love age-stated barrel proof MGP rye? For my first two reviews I thought I’d start off by comparing two ryes that come from similar backgrounds.
Redemption Whiskey was created by spirits veterans Dave Schmier and Michael Kanbar after starting a joint venture in 2010. Like many newer craft brands, they chose to source their rye from Midwest Grain Products of Indiana with its famous 95/5 mash bill. In 2015 the two agreed to sell the Redemption brand to Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, but chose not to let their whiskey journey end there. They founded Proof and Wood Ventures and decided to once again source from MGP, beginning an annual release of their barrel proof rye, The Senator.
The Senator Barrel Proof Rye Whiskey 6 year, Summer 2019, 56.05%
Nose: Lemony citrus, bold oaky rye, orange, rich, peppery, a hint of mint
Palate: Cherry sweetness on the tip of the tongue followed by some heat, spicy, dill, light oak, and faint mint underneath. The mouthfeel is pleasantly oily, but this is a hot whiskey.
Finish: Long and spicy, pepper and some drier oak
Rating: 81/100 – Excellent | Really quite exceptional
Redemption Barrel Proof Rye Whiskey 10 year, Batch 002, 58.1%
Nose: Rich bold oak, mint, sweet dill, rich molasses and caramel, pepper and spices, definitely gives the impression of being more “mature” than The Senator
Palate: Thick, rich, warm but not hot, pepper and spice, mild dill, oaky but not tannic, minty fresh , maybe a little chocolate. The mouthfeel is very thick and full bodied. You could tell me this was 100 proof and I’d believe you.
Finish: Nice and long, minty, pepper and oak spice but subdued
Rating: 90/100 – Incredible | An all time favorite
As expected these are both excellent examples of barrel proof MGP ryes, but Redemption is the clear winner. I was surprised by the difference that 4 years made and wonder if the barrels picked might play a larger role than I initially thought. The Senator is so bright but next to the Redemption’s depth and complexity it comes off a touch too brash. I’d be curious to see if an 8 year old bottle could retain some of those brighter notes while toning down the heat. I picked up the Redemption for $100 and The Senator for $80 and think the extra $20 is absolutely worth it if you’re deciding between the two. However I’d say both ryes do a great job of scratching the MGP itch.