Before (an excellent) dinner at Cocotte last night I ordered a cocktail called the La Nella Moda. It's made with Old Overholt Rye, Dolin Rouge, Amaro Ramazzotti, and Old Fashioned Bitters. Sounds good, right? "I should mention," the bartender said, "that I'm not using the Old Overholt anymore. We switched to Bulleit Rye." WHAT?!?!
Of all the bullshit press releases that come through my inbox, why was none of them informing me that Bulleit had moved into rye territory. After dinner, my friend and I went straight to Pearl Specialties (helpful hint: they stay open until 10pm), and bought a bottle each of the rye and the original bourbon. You can see the difference right away. It's a much lighter color than the original, less caramel. There's some similarity in the flavors—the cherry and tobacco notes will be familiar—but it's far less syrupy than the bourbon. It doesn't have the same spice that a lot ryes tend to have, but it feels more complex than other bottles in its price range (I think I paid $22). It's a hell of a value, and for my particular tastes—and I'm sure many will disagree—it's better than the bourbon. Production isn't as high, so neither is distribution, but if you're a whiskey lover, this one's well worth seeking out.