According to the marketing spin on Forgiven, a warehouse worker accidentally blended some Wild Turkey straight rye into some Wild Turkey straight bourbon, which automatically made a blended American whiskey that can’t be called “straight” anymore. Presumably the accident tasted pretty good so Wild Turkey bottled it as a limited edition, small batch blend at 45.5% ABV…
… None of that matters yet, because what we have here is no-name rye from somewhere (MGP? Who knows, there’s no hint on the bottle). The twist, though, is that this two year-old rye (a 90% rye / 10% malted barley mash bill) is finished for an additional two years in “white wine seasoned” French Oak barrels.
The rye has a bit higher ABV at 50%, and an actual age statement at a resounding 10 years. That’s pretty high for rye in the current market. A bit of digging revealed that this rye is from the Schenley distillery, at a mashbill of 53% rye, 39% corn and 8% barley. I spent a little too much time researching this, as the name Schenley is both a storied name in American whiskey and also awash with confusion…
Wild Turkey has been making rye since before the “rye renaissance” began – starting some time in the 1980s, using a “barely legal” mashbill of 51% rye, 37% corn, and 12% malted barley. … Only last year (2017) did Wild Turkey 101 Kentucky Straight Rye reappear, and only in the restaurant- and bar-oriented 1-liter format. It also sported a new label and a higher price tag, at around $40 a liter.
So apparently a brand called Kentucky Owl Bourbon was sold from 1879 through Prohibition and the business failed when its whisky was seized by the government for impounding. There’s a story about a warehouse fire, and Al Capone… the sort of thing that looks good on a whisky website and is impossible to corroborate. … The whiskey is from a batch of barrels of 11 year-old straight rye whiskey acquired from an unnamed distillery (or distilleries?) in Kentucky, and then bottled in Bardstown, Kentucky at a robust 55.3% ABV.
Dad’s Hat is a craft Pennsylvania rye made by Mountain Laurel Spirits, LLC, at the Grundy Mill Distillery in Bristol, PA. A locally-sourced mashbill of 80% rye, 15% malted barley, and 5% malted rye is distilled and aged for six months in new, charred oak quarter casks. … Dad’s Hat uses a combination of malted and unmalted rye, which is one of the traditions that marked the Monongahela rye style.
What makes this unique is that the unmalted Canadian rye (about 80% of the mashbill) and unmalted Canadian wheat (the distillery is working towards sourcing local grains) is distilled with a portion of malted barley from Wyoming that has been smoked with California cherry wood. This is a concerted effort by the distiller to create the effect of a barrel-aged Manhattan without using any additives (wine, bitters, etc.). The distillery uses alembic copper pot stills, and double-distills its whiskies.
On a very serious business-related trip, for business, my wife and I dragged ourselves (complaining all the way) up to picturesque Sonoma County, California, to trudge through a tour of Sonoma County Distilling Company’s facility and reluctantly down a bunch of samples. For business.
Sonoma County Distilling, located in Rohnert Park, CA and opened in 2010, uses direct-fired copper alembic pot stills for its whiskies, which are twice-distilled (like most single-malt scotches, which are also distilled in pot stills). The 100% rye in the mashbill is a combination of unmalted Canadian rye and malted rye from the UK.
In a refreshing departure from mainstream bourbon brands releasing LDI/MGP rye under their own labels and then claiming some kind of “heritage” of rye distillation, Brown Forman’s Woodford Reserve actually went out and – gasp! – made themselves a rye! … made from a combination of pot-still rye whiskey from the historic Woodford Reserve distillery and column-still rye whiskey from the Brown Forman distillery in Shively, KY.