By S.D. Peters
Redemption is a brand of sourced whiskey, owned by Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits. According to the company’s website, Redemption Rye is “sourced in Lawrenceville Indiana from the old Seagram’s distillery [MGP], founded in 1847.” No surprise to those familiar with sourced whiskey, as Lawrenceville, Indiana, is the hotbed for it.
Redemption’s Fact Sheet is more poetic on the subject: “Redemption Whiskey was created serendipitously when a cache of Rye Whiskey barrels believed to be the perfect expression of [Rye] were found, just as the Rye category was beginning to re-emerge.”
So, then: good luck, good timing, and good sense.
Before tasting Redemption whiskey, I quibbled with the phrase “believed to be the perfect expression”. What’s left to redeem if you’ve found a cache of perfect Rye? A profit? A quibble being more characteristic of the quibbler than the quibbled, my continued disapproval of the phrase after tasting Redemption whiskey is a more refined cavil: it should read, “believed to be the makings of a perfect expression.”
For Redemption’s standard Rye whiskey, the perfection’s in the aging and blending that occur under Redemption’s aegis. The batching process sometimes uncovers a barrel that requires nothing more than a few more years’ age to bring out that perfection. Such a barrel is the source of Redemption’s limited release Barrel Proof Ryes, which are aged in 7-, 8- and 10-year expressions.
As for the question, What’s left to redeem? The answer is, Rye’s honor as the best American whiskey. To that end, there’s as much proof in the Redemption brand name as there is in its Barrel Proof Straight Rye Whiskey.
Redemption’s Barrel Proof Ryes are from MGP’s popular 95% rye with a 5% barley malt stock. The aged expressions are bottled at varying barrel proofs, and for the 7-year expression that is 122.6, or 61.3% alcohol by volume. It’s a nice, high proof that adds the something extra to Rye’s ordinary flavors.
Age and strength are perceptible in the color and bouquet: a thick redwood-in-amber, redolent and woody. A strong scent of peppery toasted cashews with a trace of tree-ripened, sliced peaches and hand-picked wild raspberries precedes a refreshing flavor of white pepper cream soda. A warm, nutty finish ambles along a Clementine-lined road, kicking-up a light dusting of Allspice.
The perfect soundtrack for this warm and luxuriant Rye would be something rare, refined, but not obscure. A monaural copy of “Miles Smiles” on vinyl would do just fine. Play it at moderate volume, with a handful of friends relaxing ‘round the speakers, sipping Redemption Barrel Proof Rye. Everyone will be smiling by the end of the first sip and before the end of the first song.
Redemption Barrel Proof Straight Rye 7-year is a limited bottling. The recommended standard retail price is $79.99, subject to the pricing whims of wherever you’re fortunate enough to find it.