Redemption Blended Straight Whiskey: Tyler’s Mistake

Batch No. 001 (2018)

MASH BILL – unstated blend of bourbon and rye mash bills

PROOF – 94

AGE – unstated blend of 9 year bourbon, 2 year rye, and 3 year rye

DISTILLERY – Redemption Barrel Selections (MGP)

PRICE – $65

BUY AGAIN? – No, but glad to have this bottle on hand for any hot summery evenings. (We do get those in October here in S.F.)

I came across this odd bottle while scrolling through an online shop’s offerings in search of something to add to my cart, in order to make the shipping cost of the bottle I’d come for worth it. Being a fan of mistakes as opportunities for learning, Redemption’s one-off, Tyler’s Mistake, grabbed my attention.

Very like Wild Turkey’s two-time offering, Forgiven, the story here is that an employee accidentally combined some bourbon and rye they weren’t supposed to have done—in this case some 9-year bourbon with some 2 and 3-year ryes. But the results weren’t bad. So they sold it. I bet Tyler kept a few cases for himself. After all, how often do you make an expensive mistake at work and then get your name on a whiskey label instead of getting fired?

The young ryes would seem to dominate the blend, given the exceedingly light color. Tyler’s Mistake has the kind of pale yellow clarity I associate with some scotches or white wines. This is the feature that grabbed my attention immediately once I had the bottle in hand. How would it taste?

Here are some notes in brief, taken about a month after uncorking but only a few pours into the bottle, and tasted in a traditional Glencairn.

COLOR – a pale clear lemon yellow, soaking up and refracting any colors around it

NOSE – almost Chardonnay-like up front, then crisp rye florals and spices, breezy pine, lightly salted butter, some herbed corn, a bit of cream or light custard, thin baked wheat crackers

TASTE – tangy and juicy, yet light and bright, with the butter and lemon aspects, a bit of caramel, some pine and faint oak tannins, and a nice tingling pepperiness

FINISH – mostly the pepperiness, lemon, and butter, all fading fairly quickly…

OVERALL – the crisp white wine of whiskeys

Though definitely more rye than bourbon, and strikingly like a single grain scotch in certain respects, Tyler’s Mistake actually comes across as quite white wine like for a whiskey. As such it might not thrill whiskey fans. It’s not at all bad. Nor is it remarkable. But it’s simple, pleasing, and refreshing. I’m tasting it on one of those typically a-typical San Francisco “Fall” afternoons, with the sun blasting a decidedly summery 86° F. If I was a wine drinker I’d be reaching for something white, light, crisp, and clean. Tyler’s Mistake makes a good whiskey substitute. It’s not worth the price I paid, for sure. Maybe $40 tops. But, too late.

The Redemption line is owned by Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, sourcing from MGP. They own a range of wine and spirits brands. Their Redemption offerings do tend to taste impersonal, by which I mean they don’t have the distinction of a craft or longtime family run operation. There is something general and corporate about their flavor profiles—aiming to please, with no particularities to distract from the expected.

That said, someone working in the Redemption department occasionally gets some ideas through—like the exceptional Redemption Wheated Bourbon, which, for my money, gives Weller Special Reserve a run for its money, standing alongside the quirky McKenzie Wheated Bottled in Bond as an interesting yet easy-pleasing alternative to the famously hunted Weller.

Similarly, someone at Redemption also allowed this guy Tyler’s mistake to be bottled as Tyler’s Mistake Batch No. 001. And though it has that unremarkable, easygoing, rock-no-boats nature that seems to be the Redemption mandate, still it’s quality MGP distillate offered up in an unusual-enough profile. I can see putting this to good use in cocktails, as a warm up to a more involved tasting, in place of white wine, in cooking, for a pleasing but undemanding pour when you don’t want to be distracted by your drink. It’s perfectly enjoyable and easily forgotten—except for the story behind it, which heightens it in the memory and solicits a bit more consideration than it might otherwise warrant.

As a whiskey aficionado, I’m fine with that. I’d be glad to bring this to a picnic or other outdoor gathering, or a dinner party where the host was serving seafood. It would compliment the oysters well while allowing us to get on with our conversation.

Not at all bad for a mistake.


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