Review: Van Winkle Reserve Family Rye 2016

When you hear the name Van Winkle, you probably think of two words first: Pappy and bourbon. However, the Van Winkle family also puts out a rye fairly regularly called Van Winkle Reserve Family Rye. It’s sourced from a few different distilleries and for many years now, this 13 year straight rye whisky has been tanked to prevent any further aging. It’s usually released every year or two though there’s never any set schedule. Word on the street is that the tank is getting close to being empty. In the mean time, Buffalo Trace has been working to bring stocks up to age to replace the old sourced material.

Like any product with Van Winkle in the name, you’ll probably never see it on a shelf and if you do, it will likely be accompanied by an exorbitant price tag. Such is the whisky world these days.

This quick review is of the 2016 release. Always bottled at 13 years old and 95.6 proof, let’s see how this rye stacks up against the competition.

Van Winkle Family Rye

Van Winkle Reserve Family Rye 2016 - 47.8% ABV
Category Notes
Appearance Penny copper
Nose Woody, fresh mint leaves, clove, anise, hints of stonefruit
Taste Grapefruit, hint of dill, cinnamon, vanilla, spicy.
Finish Oats, vanilla, some nice oak. A bit one dimensional here.
Overall Thoughts Well, the 2016 release is above average in the grand scheme of ryes. Its straightforward and balanced but doesn’t have a ton of depth. For non-barrel proof ryes, I'd take Sazerac 18 any day of the week.
Total Score 85/100