REVIEW #1: 4/16/2015
MICHTER’S SINGLE BARREL STRAIGHT RYE WHISKEY
Michter’s is a whiskey producer I have been curious about for a while. A lot of people really like it and yet a lot of people have also pointed out how controversial they are at times. It doesn’t take long to realize, just look at their bottles, they are completely okay with contributing to the hype and folklore which so often now accompanies a simple bottle of whiskey. They claim to be the first distillery in America, tracing their roots back to 1753. However, this new company isn’t even remotely like the Michter’s which produced A.H. Hirsch back in the day and was shuttered in 1990. This distillery has taken the name. Check. But, in fact, it is not even a distillery. Uncheck. It is a non-distiller producer (NDP). Which is fine and dandy in my opinion. There are many good NDPs out there (Smooth Ambler and High West just to name two). The fact that they have taken the historic name and claim to be the historic distillery is what has given them flack over the past few years. I understand but honestly I just want to know if what is inside the bottle is worth the price tag and worth my time. And, I say it is.
Owner: Chatham Imports
Bottling: Barrel Number 14/604
Light orangey copper.
Rye bread followed by orange zest and mint. There is a hint of leather and oak hiding in the background. More spice than sweet which is to be expected. It has a solid nose.
Rye spice. Some clove, ginger, and a little cinnamon. The orange and mint are still there. This has a great balance of spice and sweet. It is a very smooth pour.
Medium-long. Sweet and spicy and then ending dry.
This is a solid rye. It is by no means really complex or interesting. However, it is a good everyday rye and makes for a nice cocktail.
85/100 (A Solid Tipple)
REVIEW #2: 6/11/2015
WILLETT FAMILY ESTATE 2 YEAR RYE
Distiller: Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd. or The Willett Distillery
Age: 2 Years Old
ABV: 53.85% (This came out in various batches with different ABVs)
I find this whiskey beautiful. It is very floral. It is also loaded with cinnamon red hots. The more it sits and opens up I began to find mint, orange zest, all-spice, and a little oak (even for its age). The burn was not overwhelming.
This is a very tasty tipple. There is a lot of citrus up front with orange and grapefruit dominating the front of the palate. Some vanilla comes through. The cinnamon red hots and mint notes are still there but they take a back seat on the taste. Florals move in at the end and jump back-and-forth across the palate. This one has some depth and character for its age. Some people have found new make flavors with this tipple but they were not present in my bottle.
Medium-long. Spicy and sugary. The orange note lingers on through the end.
I feel like I must address the matter of value. In a whiskey world inundated with over-hyped, over-aged products, value has been lost and must be redeemed. There are still some good whiskeys at prices which are easy on the wallet. You don’t have to take out a second mortgage on your home to buy a tasty tipple. This is one of those tipples. While it is 2 years old, with its depth, character, and price around the mid thirties you cannot go wrong. This is a great tipple at a great price. Lets just hope it remains affordable as it ages.
This is truly a great tipple. While it is young, it is bold, deep, and truly tasty. I am excited to experience this one as it ages over the years.
91/100 (An Excellent Tipple)
REVIEW #3: 8/11/2015
Distiller: Heaven Hill
Age: NAS (Around 4 years old according to the distillery)
ABV: 50% (BIB)
Mashbill: 51/37/12 (Rye/Corn/Barley)
Sweet and Spicy. Rye forward with a caramel and vanilla backbone. I also get some cracked pepper and cloves. It’s a well-balanced nose. However, it’s not mind-blowing. But, I don’t expect that (it’s a $25 rye) so it doesn’t lose too many points in my mind for not being overly complex.
Rye. Honey. Caramel. Vanilla. Clove. Once again its well-balanced. However, still not complex.
Long. Rye, cinnamon, and honey on the front-end. This slowly fades to a medium-dry oak.
The price point on this is perfect. It’s not a tipple which makes you think and want to explore its depths. It’s a straight-forward, well-balanced, tasty dram at a price point where you are not afraid to burn through a bottle quickly by sharing it with friends, mixing it in cocktails, and sipping on it if you like it that way. You can always go back out and get another bottle without breaking the bank.
This is a solid tipple. It’s not great. I like to primarily sip whiskey and this one was so hot in the beginning and lacked the depth I like in sipping whiskeys so it was hard to enjoy it neat until the end of the bottle. That being said, it’s a perfect mixing whiskey with balance and flavor.
89/100 (A Solid Tipple)
REVIEW #4: 8/20/2015
DAD’S HAT PENNSYLVANIA RYE WHISKEY
Distiller: Mountain Laurel Spirits, LLC
Age: A Minimum of 6 Months (In Quarter Cask Barrels – Smaller Barrels)
Mashbill: 80/15/5 (Rye/Malted Barley/Malted Rye)
Carmel or Light Honey.
I did not have a tasting glass to do this review. Some tasting notes were muted (especially on the nose). I will put a range on my score for this reason.
Fresh baked rye bread, dill, and spice. These notes were followed by a lot of caramel and vanilla. Fruit licorice. Some new make notes (white rye whiskey). A small amount of barrel char. Very little ethanol. It was a pleasant nose.
Same notes as the nose but in reverse. I get the caramel and vanilla up-front followed by the rye bread, dill, and spice. It transitions from smooth to spicy. Very pleasant. I didn’t notice any new make on the palate. I don’t know where this lies in the palate but it is unique. I have not had a rye that tastes like this one. It gets some nice points here.
Medium. Spicy and sweet gives way to spicy and dry. Slowly fading burn at the back of the palate.
The value is pretty good. Compared to other new and emerging distilleries who price their whiskies in the $50-75 range, the fact that this one comes in under $40 is a win. However, I would still lean towards the similar priced ryes from Wild Turkey and High West. Still, if you are looking for a unique rye at a decent price this is a good bet.
This is a good rye. It is not a great rye. The entire experience was nice and unique. It would work really well in a Manhattan (90 proof). If you are look for a new, fun, and unique rye then go for it. I might pass the next time around if there were similarly priced and older ryes on the shelf. But, if I ever get the chance to get my hands on a bottle of the straight, cask strength version I am sure it will be a big winner.
85-87/100 (A Solid Tipple)