By Richard Thomas
Because Dad’s Hat is so firmly wedded to the ultra spicy Pennsylvania style of rye whiskey (rye and malted rye, but no corn), watching their development has been a boozy journey as interesting as it is tasty. As time has passed, this small distillery outside Philadelphia has steadily raised its maturation bar. First they released a minimum, two year old straight rye, and then a three year old. Finally they crossed into territory that has been the focus of much attention in the drinks press lately, that of Bottled in Bond.
Bottled in Bond (BiB) is a standard dating from an 1897 Federal act. For a whiskey to qualify, the contents of the bottle must have been distilled in a single season, aged in a Federally-supervised warehouse, be at least four years old, and bottled at 100 proof. Until very, very recently, BiB whiskeys has been the purview of the big distillers. That makes Dad’s Hat release of a BiB whiskey special indeed, even if it was in very limited numbers and as a distillery-only product.
In the glass, the Dad’s Hat BiB has the near standard coloring of rye whiskey, that oranged amber that reminds me very much of brightly polished copper. It’s a bright, clear liquid, and in this case it drops big, thick and runny legs.
The nose is spicy and herbal, with the later a mixture of eucalyptus and mint. A drop of earthy, plum-like sweetness and a pinch of pine needles rounds things out. After the whiskey has breathed some air, it adopts a minor note of toastiness.
The liquid sits lightly on the palate, and tastes sweet, spicy and herbal in just about equal measures. The finish too was on the light side, fading swiftly. While not an especially complex whiskey, the Dad’s Hat BiB Rye is quite balanced, and makes for a pleasant, easy drinking whiskey. While on the light side, it isn’t lacking in personality.
This distillery-only release was priced at $100 a bottle.