The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 20 American rye whiskies with 20 pre-qualified judges. Strict tasting rules were applied. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. Each of the ryes were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles, and served slightly above room temperature. Only ice water, neutral unflavored unsalted crackers and bar snacks were available to cleanse the palate. The judges tasted through two flights of 7 ryes and one flight of 6 ryes.
The judges wrote down their impressions of each product on score sheets. The scoring was done on a 5-point system, with 5 as the best. Double-Gold and Gold medals were awarded according to a set range of final point scores received from the judges. The scores were exceptionally high overall, and there were no Silver or Bronze medals awarded in this tasting.
Nose: Light citrus, sugar cane, dried fruits, nuts, dried grain, flour, mint, white pepper.
Palate: Honey, buttery, vanilla, caramel, toffee, light maple syrup, cherry, prune, dried fruit, pistachio, clove, spice.
Finish: Creamy, spicy, tobacco, slightly smoky, smooth, delicate.