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Review: MGP Rye

Updated: Jan 21, 2021


Redemption was my first MGP love. Five years ago, my local had a short shelf of the 7 and 8 yr. for $75 (which was steep at the time). I slowly drank through them before stashing a few. This is my penultimate bottle. I've loved them all, but found the 8 yrs to be a noticeable upgrade from the 7. Didn't care for the batches of 6 yr I tried. These early Redemptions aren't as refined as SAOS bottlings. They're loud and rich - dill-ing it up, MGP amped - delivering a wow factor. SAOS Ryes, on the other hand, always seemed to be anchored with a rich, underlying sweetness and nailed their proof management. With that management came added complexity. Pretty wild that this entire style of rye (MGP 95/5) emerged as a product of scarcity - a blending component given the limelight, the understudy taking center stage. Tough to image us going back now.

These were tasted side-by-side because that's how I like to drink.


Redemption Barrel Proof Rye 8 yr. - Batch #1 - 61.35%

Nose: Dill. Barrel char. Caramel. Oak. That's good oak - sweet spot. Green apple, but this herbal and barrel driven. Very expressive.

Flavor: Vanilla. Green apple. Dill. Oak. Wood spice. Hot on the back end.

Structure: Slower and bigger than the SAOS below. Only 3 waves, but they are full and clear.

Alcohol Integration: Pleasantly punchy. It's fiery.

Score: 8 (Highly Recommend) Bolder at every turn than the SAOS. But structure and complexity are sacrificed . Nose here is the clear winner though.


Smooth Ambler Old Scout Rye 9 yr. #3579 - 58.6%

Nose: Soft oak. Softer herbs - but more of them and more complex. Just softer in general. Vanilla. After some time, rich caramel starts to emerge. Not much fruit.

Flavor: Caramel. Dill. Oak. Apples. Pears. Chocolate. Vanilla. More oak. More fruit. More vanilla. Wait for it... more chocolate. This continues.

Structure: Long. Wave after wave. Just keeps rolling. I'm counting 10 sequences. These are my favorite structures. Slow, long fadeout.

Alcohol Integration: Could use some more clarity/expressiveness on the nose. Other than that, it's balanced, complex, clear - fantastic.

Score: 9 (Stash Two) You have to coax this nose, but once you sip, you stop caring.


You May Also Dig:

Punchy MGP


Rating System

10 - Reevaluate The Budget

9 - Stash Two (If Able)

8 - Stash One (At The Right Price)

7 - Highly Recommend It To Strangers

6 - Solid - Above Average

5 - Acceptable For The Situation

4 - Not Vocally Complaining

3 - Anything Else To Drink?

2 - Nothing Nice To Say

1 - Drain Pour

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