By S.D. Peters
Redemption, a brand of Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, is “sourced in Lawrenceville, Indiana from MGP, the old Seagram’s distillery founded in 1847.” MGP has become synonymous with sourced whiskey, and each source has a story. Redemption’s Fact Sheet tells it like this: “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.”
Good luck, good timing, and good sense.
For Redemption’s standard Rye, perfection is in the aging and blending, and sometimes the during the batching process there’s a barrel that requires nothing more than a few more years’ age to bring out that perfection. Those barrels source Redemption’s limited release Barrel Proof Ryes, which are aged in 7-, 8- and 10-year expressions.
And the name? Well, there’s as much proof in the Redemption brand name as there is in its Barrel Proof Straight Rye Whiskey that Rye’s honor as the best American whiskey has been redeemed.
The line of Redemption’s Barrel Proof Ryes are drawn from the 95% rye, 5% barley malt mashbill stock. The aged expressions are bottled at varying barrel proofs, and for the 8-year expression, that proof is 121.5, or 60.75% alcohol by volume. It’s a tad lower than the 7-Year expression, but still high enough to fine-tune Rye’s standard notes.
Like the 7-year expression, the 8-year’s Sequoia hue and woody bouquet are the immediate beneficiaries its age and strength. Bark, loam, and strawberries dipped in a caramel fondue give the nose a sharpened earthy sweetness. The warm finish has a slightly stronger bite than the 7-year, despite the slightly lower proof, and fades with a mellower nuttiness: sharp cracked pepper and just under-ripe grapefruit provide the kick, toasted brazil nuts the landing. In between there’s a familiar cream soda, but served in a leather flagon.
The perfect soundtrack for this get-up-and go Rye would be something that’s energetic, enigmatic and eclectic. Coltrane Live at the Village Vanguard comes to mind; any take of “India” specifically. Predictable? Perhaps, but also timeless.
Redemption Barrel Proof 8 YO is a limited bottling. The recommended standard retail price is $89.99, subject to the pricing whims of wherever you’re fortunate enough to find it.