This is the 2013 release of the Van Winkle Rye which is 13 years old and bottled at 47.8% ABV.
Nose: Fresh rye bread with a blend of cherries and grapes lingering in the background adding some subtle sweet notes. Perfect level of oak here with some nice baking spices and vanilla.
Palate: Oak more prominent and turning just slightly bitter before the spicy rye kicks in with some old leather, baking chocolate, and subtle plums.
Finish: Rye pulls out front ahead of the oak and lingers with a bit of sawdust and stewed fruits.
Rating: 93/100 – An excellent rye that is right about the perfect age for my taste as the grain still comes off fresh without the oak taking over completely and turning it bitter. Nice to pick up some fruit notes which can sometimes be hard to find in an older straight rye.
Value for the money: At retail, these would make one of the best buys around were they readily available. Sadly expect to pay $750+ on the secondary for one, and I would never advocate paying that much for a bottle.