By Father John Rayls
As a big fan of Anchor Brewery, I had been anxious to get my hands on a few of the Anchor Distilling’s rye products, and my first experience was with their Single Malt Straight Rye Whiskey. If the “single malt” part seems odd, the whiskey was made with a mashbill of 100% malted rye.
Old Potrero is bottled at 97 proof (48.5% ABV) as a no age statement (NAS) whiskey, but is rumored to be about 3.5 years old, although I’m a bit suspicious of that.
The original brewery was founded in 1871, but was saved from bankruptcy by Fritz Maytag in 1965. However, distillery operations didn’t begin until 1993, when Fritz moved all Anchor operations to its current location on Potrero Hill in the San Francisco Bay Area. Part of the original vision for its whiskey products was to make it “old-style,” keeping it near what the original American distillers produced. Thus, they produce their whiskey in small copper-pot stills and in limited quantities. At one time, Old Potrero Rye was bottled as a young one year old.
The look of the rye in the glass is of dark gold. The legs are readily apparent, but are somewhat thin with many droplets remaining on the glass after the legs disappeared.
The nose is on the subtle side and produces a sweet/spicey mix with no alcohol burn. The spice produces a nice soft cinnamon aroma with some slight oak underneath.
The mouthfeel is a little surprising. There is a nice coating of the mouth, but it’s very light. The flavor profile is subtle as well. It activates the front of the tongue and the top back of the mouth with cinnamon (think Red Hots, only not as spicy). The finish is medium and pleasant without any alcohol burn and continues the activity on the front of the tongue.
I suspect that it would make an interesting mixer in various cocktails for those so motivated. However, it’s an interesting sipping whiskey with some hidden complex flavors. I would certainly recommend trying it neat first due to its subtlety.
I found pricing on the Internet anywhere from $55.99 to $80.00.