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All About Rye Whiskey


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#31 slkinsey

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Posted 29 August 2006 - 01:29 PM

I gave Anchor Distilling's Old Potrero Single Malt Hotaling's Whiskey a small taste last night.

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Another tidbit: Hotaling's should hit NYC around September/October.
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#32 eje

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Posted 29 August 2006 - 01:43 PM

Should you have any money left after purchasing the Rittenhouse 21 Year old rye, Sazerac will be releasing a new uncut, unfiltered Rye Whiskey as part of their Antique Collection at the end of September

It will be named Thomas H. Handy Sazerac after the bartender who allegedly first used Rye Whiskey in a Sazerac Cocktail.

Oh, by the way, the price for this should be in line with the rest of the Antique Collection, in the range of $50-60.

Edited by eje, 29 August 2006 - 02:04 PM.

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#33 donbert

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Posted 29 August 2006 - 02:34 PM

Another tidbit:  Hotaling's should hit NYC around September/October.


Hotaling's is already here in at LeNell's.

Also LeNell is going to be doing a private bottling of a 23 year old barrel proof rye sometime this fall once the label gets approved by the proper authorities.


Disclosure note: I don't work for LeNell but I wish I did. :biggrin:

#34 donbert

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Posted 29 August 2006 - 02:45 PM

Should you have any money left after purchasing the Rittenhouse 21 Year old rye, Sazerac will be releasing a new uncut, unfiltered Rye Whiskey as part of their Antique Collection at the end of September

It will be named Thomas H. Handy Sazerac after the bartender who allegedly first used Rye Whiskey in a Sazerac Cocktail.

Oh, by the way, the price for this should be in line with the rest of the Antique Collection, in the range of $50-60.

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Erik, do you know if that's going to be separate from the Sazerac 18 yr that they put out previously?

#35 eje

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Posted 29 August 2006 - 07:53 PM

Erik, do you know if that's going to be separate from the Sazerac 18 yr that they put out previously?

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I asked the guy at Binny's specifically, and he said the Handy will be an addition to the line, and they will continue releasing the 18 year old as well.

When I asked about the age of the Handy, he replied he's heard that it will be a 10 to 12 year old Rye.

Edited by eje, 29 August 2006 - 08:40 PM.

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#36 lancastermike

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 12:48 PM

i like [Rittenhouse BIB] a lot too.  if only we could get it in PA...  come to think of it, if only i could get it in NJ or DE, either.  i haven't seen it either place.  where is this stuff sold?

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This is now available by SLO in Pennsylvania. I called last week and there is a one case minimum order.

At one time , I would have considered a case of whiskey a good start to a weekend, but those days are gone. I am still looking to score a bottle of this and I know it is available in MD. I guess a trip south of the Mason Dixon Line is in order

#37 slkinsey

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 02:29 PM

At one time , I would have considered a case of whiskey a good start to a weekend, but those days are gone.

Slacker.
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#38 eje

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 01:59 AM

Tried the Thomas H. Handy rye with a friend over last weekend.

Can't say I'm entirely convinced.

It's a very "hot" rye.

My friend suggested it might be nice, as it is like buying a bottle and a half of whiskey.

I dunno. At the same price point, I prefer the pre-diluted 18 year old Sazerac. Or at half the price the Sazerac Junior.

More detailed analysis is needed and a close comparison to the Saz Jr.
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#39 Bricktop

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 07:07 PM

I grabbed up a bottle of the Sazerac 18 year old 2006 edition at State Line Liquors in Elkton, MD. I also found Peychauds bitters there, the first place I have run across them despite looking for many moons. I picked up 3 bottles, then the very next day I found them in Baltimore. :rolleyes:

Back on topic, the Sazerac 18 is simply yummy, but at over $50 a bottle, it is not going to be my base rye. I did use it in a kick-ass Manhattan with Vya sweet vermouth though, just for S&G.

#40 limewine

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 11:52 PM

Tried the Thomas H. Handy rye with a friend over last weekend.

Can't say I'm entirely convinced.

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About two months ago I hosted a blind tasting of 18 different rye whiskies, including all three Sazerac bottlings. Details will be published in January, and I'll post additional info on my site, but for our panel at least, the Handy ranked quite high--three of the four panelists placed it among the top four whiskies, and I believe I ranked it second on my list (other brands and bottlings sampled included Hirsch, Rittenhouse 21-year, Black Maple Hill 23-year and two Old Potrero bottlings, along with standards like Old Overholt, Jim Beam, Rittenhouse 80- and 100-proof, Van Winkle, etc.). The Handy also ranked surprisingly higher than the Sazerac 18-year and the 6-year. Hot, yes, (for those unfamiliar with the bottling, it's cask strength), but sometimes it's nice to taste a whiskey that comes in like a fastball; it makes me respect the distiller a bit more, and whacks my humility back into its proper position. Plus, I can cut the whiskey to fit with a dribble of ice water.

Anyway, details to come in January, but the point of the whole post here is that, in a liquor cabinet stocked with leftovers from the tasting panel, the Handy is one of my favorites.
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#41 eje

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 10:23 AM

[...]
Hot, yes, (for those unfamiliar with the bottling, it's cask strength), but sometimes it's nice to taste a whiskey that comes in like a fastball; it makes me respect the distiller a bit more, and whacks my humility back into its proper position. Plus, I can cut the whiskey to fit with a dribble of ice water.

Anyway, details to come in January, but the point of the whole post here is that, in a liquor cabinet stocked with leftovers from the tasting panel, the Handy is one of my favorites.

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At least it isn't the George T. Stagg Bourbon! If you really want a whack, give that one a try. It is over 140 proof this year.

But, yeah, I wonder if my initial reaction wasn't more about context. It was a bit early in the day for whiskey drinking. At least for me. Will definitely be going back to try it along with several other ryes.

I'll also look forward to your writeup on Cocktail Chronicles in January.

PS. You didn't say; but, did your tasting include any of the Kentucky Bourbon Distillers Vintage Ryes? I'm curious about them.
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#42 lancastermike

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 11:01 AM

Would be interested in trying the Handy if I can track it down. My current bottle is the Sazerac six year old. And I must say I was sort of underwhelmed by it.
I usually just have one bottle at a time of rye. The bottle I finished was one that does not seem to get a lot of respect but that I liked a lot. That is Pikesville.

I used the Sazerac to make a sazarac cocktail. Nothing special there.

#43 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 02:34 PM

I thought I read somewhere that the laws defining Bourbon required it to be bottled at between 80 and 125 proof. Is this correct? If so, then how can this Stagg stuff have been bottled at 140 proof?

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#44 eje

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 05:33 PM

Would be interested in trying the Handy if I can track it down. My current bottle is the Sazerac six year old. And I must say I was sort of underwhelmed by it.
I usually just have one bottle at a time of rye. The bottle I finished was one that does not seem to get a lot of respect but that I liked a lot. That is Pikesville.

I used the Sazerac to make a sazarac cocktail.  Nothing special there.

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Bummer.

Are you a Manhattan drinker?

I really like the Sazerac 6 in a Manhattan. Also makes a mean old-fashioned.

To me, all the Buffalo Trace Ryes have similar flavor profiles. If you don't like the Sazerac 6, I wouldn't spend the $50 on the Handy.

But, you're right, Pikesville is a great rye, especially for the money. Its limited distribution makes it kind of easy to overlook, however. As far as I know, it is really only available in some limited pockets on the East Coast of the US.
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#45 Bricktop

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 07:01 PM

I was just in Baltimore last weekend, and saw, and to my shame passed over the Pikesville rye.
As I remember, it was a real bargain price. I will not make that mistake again.

#46 Lordof7

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 07:33 AM

The New York Times Dining section this week is a drinks special, and included an article on experimental but unpopular drinks, and one on rye. The rye article is nice - Dave Wondrich was one of the tasters - and it discusses tasting notes of several aged ryes. Now, the article does mention that the rye staples (Old Overholt and Jim Beam) were good, but did not make the top ten. In fact, only the top 10 were listed. I was wondering if the esteemed Mr. Wondrich could release the tasting notes for the bottom five. I ask, because the prices on those preium boys are a bit rich for my blood, and the Rittenhouse, Sazerac, and Wild Turkey are not available to me. At any rate, the articles are quite good - check them out!

(Although I must admit, I felt a pang of fear, as hard to find ryes may become harder to find. However, hopefully it also means not so hard to find ryes that I can't get will become easier to find!)

Rye Article

Experiment Article

#47 Nathan

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 08:44 AM

It was a fascinating article...didn't realize that Ryes were that rare.

One pedantic caveat: my understanding was that the original Sazerac (cognac) was in fact made with cognac. However, within about 20 years (1880 or so) rye became standard in the drink.

(btw, cognac does make a damn fine Sazerac)

Edited by Nathan, 29 November 2006 - 08:45 AM.


#48 eje

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 10:03 AM

[...]In fact, only the top 10 were listed.  I was wondering if the esteemed Mr. Wondrich could release the tasting notes for the bottom five.  I ask, because the prices on those preium boys are a bit rich for my blood, and the Rittenhouse, Sazerac, and Wild Turkey are not available to me.

They mention the Old Potrero 18th Century, (although, technically not a rye whiskey,) the Beam, and the Old Overholt as whiskeys that didn't make the top 10. Be interesting to know what the other 2 were. I would guess one of the others might have been the 80 proof Rittenhouse?

If they couldn't get the Sazerac 18, I doubt they would have been able to get the Thomas Handy.
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#49 perfumekev

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 01:33 PM

Pikesville is only avalable in Maryland. I bought 3 cases of it when I was there last time. The Sazeracs are all exelent the Handy Is 8 years old. Unfortunatley the 18 year old gives me some horrible allergic reaction. I like the older ryes and I like the young ryes. I'm a slut for rye. I have so many ryes in my collection I have all listed in the NY Times article. I find the bigest difference between older and younger wiskies is the amount of oak in the flavor the older the whiskey the more reaction there has been with the char and the oak more tannins and more creasotes from the char which creates more sweetness and woodsy phenolic flavors, and more lactones are created which give a creamy toffee flavor. I hope that all these companies will make more ryes. Ryes are comming back and are on the verge of a major comeback. I think It is high time that the distillers start expanding there distribution channells and start making more Rye! :biggrin:

#50 gethin

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 02:24 PM

Pikesville is only avalable in Maryland.   

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and London !

As I type I'm enjoying a Pikesville/Punt e Mes Manhattan (with Regans OB , a tiny splash of Maraschino and a slightly larger splash of Triple Sec) - I can't recollect whose suggestion the last two ingredients were , but they really add something.

Your certainly right about the creamy backtaste to the Rye - quite different to the Bourbon I've been mainly using for Manhattans.


Gethin

#51 perfumekev

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 07:15 AM

Sorry I forgot about Europe Heaven Hill primaraly exports Pikesville it is very hard to find in the U.S. which is a shame because it realy is a lovely rye. It is high time that they start further distribution in the US again.

I have to say that one of my favorite ryes that no one is comenting on is Wild Turkey Rye It is very robust and has a nice grassy spikeyness to it has some nice spicey kick to the background.

I also use some modifiers in rye Manhattans I like a little dash of Grand Marnier and some Marachino Cherry Syrup from Fee Bros. I also have tried Cointreau Punt e mes and Marachino Liq. I also find that rye seems to blend very well with congnac i.e. the Vieux Carrie cocktail.

The great thing about the manhattan is that it lends its self to so many reincarnations. it is a template for so many variations.

The Handy Rye needed some serious mixing before it made a "non burning" manhattan. I may even add a little water next time I use it. The High proof Antique Collection numbers are all like that lots of flavor with lots of heat! I actrualy preffer them in old fashoined glass packed with ice and a touch of Strirrings Club soda.

#52 mrbigjas

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 07:42 AM

I have to say that one of my favorite ryes that no one is comenting on is Wild Turkey Rye It is very robust and has a nice grassy spikeyness to it has some nice spicey kick to the background.


that's the standard rye around my house. i don't like the beam as much, or the old overholt, which are the only two affordable ryes easily available in pennsylvania. so i pick up a wild turkey whenever i'm in jersey.

(i supplement with bulleit bourbon, which according to their site is made with a higher percentage of rye than most bourbon--probably why i like it so much; it's not as sweet as bourbon usually is)

#53 eje

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 01:12 PM

Tried the Thomas H. Handy rye with a friend over last weekend.

Can't say I'm entirely convinced.

It's a very "hot" rye.
[...]
More detailed analysis is needed and a close comparison to the Saz Jr.

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I went back to this the other night in comparison to a couple other ryes.

Posted Image

Thos. H. Handy 2006, Saz 18 2005, Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey, and Pikesville Supreme.

You will note my preferred whiskey tasting glass in front of the suspects in question.

I find just covering the bottom of the bonne maman jar gives enough of a taste to understand the character of a whiskey, and the wide opening does a good job of directing; but, not over concentrating the aroma.

One thing this year that is a little odd, is that they didn't put dates on the Antique Collection bottles.

To order them by preference, I would still say Saz 18 2005 first. It is such a pleasant and complex sipping rye. I would put the Thomas Handy 2006 second. It is amazingly complex. The sort of rye where every sip shows a different aspect and lingers in your mouth, nose, and memory. But, it is rough, hot, and a bit rude. On this evening I felt like the Pikesville should come next. I definitely rank it higher than the Beam, and likely the Old Overholt, as a good all around whiskey with strong rye character. For straight sipping, at least that evening, among these whiskeys, I put the Sazerac Straight Rye last.

The Saz Jr., however, remains my current favorite old-fashioned and manhattan mixing Rye. Also quite tasty in the Artist's (Special). Actually, I'm ambivalent about Sazerac Ryes in Sazeracs. Find I prefer their herbaceous, earthy character against angostura or Vermouth rather than anise. Just personal taste, I'm sure.

While they are all from the same company, I did think that the Saz Jr. and Saz 18 2005 had more in common than either to the Handy.
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#54 Chris Amirault

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Posted 05 December 2006 - 06:30 PM

Erik, have you had chance to try the Sazerac 18 year old 2006? I've just grabbed a bottle -- an xmas gift from me to me -- that I'm dying to crack open; the salesman at my favorite wine and spirits shop was gaga.
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#55 eje

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 10:57 AM

Erik, have you had chance to try the Sazerac 18 year old 2006? I've just grabbed a bottle -- an xmas gift from me to me -- that I'm dying to crack open; the salesman at my favorite wine and spirits shop was gaga.

View Post

I haven't had a chance to try the new one yet. In the past, a friend and I have done side by side comparisons of releases and haven't found too much variation between years. Some subtle differences.

To me, everything in the Buffalo Trace Antique collection is an incredible deal for the price (~$50). Some of the best American whiskies available.
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#56 johnder

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Posted 06 December 2006 - 11:06 AM

I had the saz 18. It is amazing. It is like drinking brown sugar. I had it straight and I also had a sazerac with it. Mind blowing. Definitely my favorite of the collection behind the now impossible to find Handy.

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#57 Bricktop

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Posted 07 December 2006 - 06:51 PM

Erik, have you had chance to try the Sazerac 18 year old 2006? I've just grabbed a bottle -- an xmas gift from me to me -- that I'm dying to crack open; the salesman at my favorite wine and spirits shop was gaga.

Chris, I have, and it is really delicious. Certainly makes the best Manhattans and Red Hooks I have had. But I don't have any earlier years to compare it to.

#58 kvltrede

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Posted 08 December 2006 - 04:01 PM

The New York Times Dining section this week is a drinks special, and included an article on experimental but unpopular drinks, and one on rye.  The rye article is nice - Dave Wondrich was one of the tasters - and it discusses tasting notes of several aged ryes.  Now, the article does mention that the rye staples (Old Overholt and Jim Beam) were good, but did not make the top ten.  In fact, only the top 10 were listed.  I was wondering if the esteemed Mr. Wondrich could release the tasting notes for the bottom five....

Rye Article

It's almost 5pm CST. Dunno if any of y'all will see this in time to catch it but I'm told that Eric Asimov is the guest on the Rachel Maddow show today and the topic is rye whiskey. It's on in a couple minutes. Listen online at AirAmerica.com

I have no idea how much liberal [claptrap/intelligent analysis] you'll have to sit through before Asimov shows up.

Kurt

UPDATE: the show just started. Sounds like Asimov will show up towards the end of the second hour, say, 6:30-7pm-ish CST. In addition to discussing rye whiskey there will be a cocktail created to toast the departure of Do-Nothing Congress of 2006.

UPDATE #2: you can see the commemorative cocktail at Rachel Maddow's blog. It's nothing more than a Ward 8. I was hoping she and Asimov had come up with something original. She does, however, provide a link to two homemade grenadine recipes. I shouldn't have been surprised to find that the link took me to the very fine cocktail blog, The Cocktail Chronicles--the work of Paul Clarke aka limewine.

Edited by kvltrede, 08 December 2006 - 05:11 PM.

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#59 eje

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 10:17 AM

Paul, over at Cocktail Chronicles, has started posting the writeups of the tasting sessions he and a few other Seattle cocktail cognoscenti did while researching an article about Rye Whiskey for Imbibe Magazine:

The Rye Chronicles

The list of ryes they tasted included:

* Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey
* Jim Beam Straight Rye
* Michter’s U.S. 1 Single Barrel Straight Rye
* Michter’s 10-year-Old Rye
* Wild Turkey 101-Proof Kentucky Straight Rye
* Van Winkle Family Reserve 13-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Rye
* Sazerac 6-Year-Old Rye
* Sazerac 18-Year-Old Rye
* Thomas Handy Sazerac Rye
* Pikesville Supreme
* Old Potrero Single-Malt 18th Century Style Whiskey
* Old Potrero Single Malt 19th Century Style Straight Rye Whiskey
* Hirsch Selection 21-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
* Black Maple Hill 18-Year-Old Rye
* Black Maple Hill 23-Year-Old Rye
* Rittenhouse 80-Proof Rye Whiskey
* Rittenhouse 100-Proof Bottled-in-Bond Rye Whiskey
* Rittenhouse 21-Year-Old Rye Whiskey

...and is, of course, written up with his typical zip and savoir faire.

edit - fix grammar problem.

Edited by eje, 09 January 2007 - 10:50 AM.

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If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
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#60 slkinsey

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Posted 09 January 2007 - 10:40 AM

I was chatting with Dave about this the other day... It's really a shame that Old Overholt, the one brand that kept the rye whiskey flame alight through the years, is allowing the current rye renaissance (ryenaissance?) to pass it by. There are a few cocktails (for me, the Blinker) where I reach for Old Overholt as my first choice, but Rittenhouse BIB has easily taken its place as my house mixing rye, and Old Overholt isn't even a possible contender as a sipping rye. It's too bad, because it doesn't have to be this way. All they'd have to do is release a 100 proof bottling of Old Overholt (in other words, just don't water it down so much for bottle proof) and change nothing else. If there were a 100 proof Old Overholt, I think everyone who is currently enamored of Rittenhouse BIB would use the 100 proof Old Overholt as well. And, if they wanted to, all they'd have to do is age some of the stuff they're already making a little longer and/or bottle it a little differently, and they'd be instant competitors in the sipping rye category.

Isn't Old Overholt made by the same guys who make Jim Beam? Aren't these the guys who jumpstarted the small batch bourbon craze when they figured out that they could take regular old Jim Beam out of the still and just age it/bottle it/label it differently as Baker's, Basil Hayden's, Booker's or Knob Creek? I don't understand why they aren't doing this with Old Overholt.
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