Friday, September 23, 2016

Dad's Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey

VITALS:
- $45
- 90 Proof
- NAS

My wife is wonderful in so many ways, but one of the biggest ways is when she buys me random bottles of whiskey out of the blue. This was one such bottle. Intrigued by the sticker on the bottle advertising Dad's Hat's Rye as having been named Craft Whiskey of the Year by Whisky Advocate, and knowing it was one I've not tried before, she grabbed a bottle for me on a whim. (You should know she also grabbed yet another bottle of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof while she was at the store just because she knew I loved it!)

I feel like I've been lucky enough to get my hands on some of the harder to find or nicer bottles from the major producers lately, but, as a result, I haven't tried many of the hundreds of craft distillery products that are out there, so I eagerly popped the cork on this one right away.

Sometimes when I nose a bourbon it takes me a few tries before I can pin down the different scents I'm noticing. That was not the case with this one. This nose was a blend of tobacco leaf and dark cherry. Certainly these are not everyday scents, so I don't know why, for whatever reason, I was able to ascertain this one quickly, but I was certain of what I smelled. The tobacco reminded leave actually reminded me of some Irish whiskeys I've had in the past.

Upon the first sip, the first thing I noticed was that this Rye has an odd tanginess to it. At first I chalked it up to the fact that it is a young whiskey coming from a craft distillery. According to the label, it was aged for a minimum of 6 months in new oak quarter cask barrels. I've noticed that with young ryes, they have a certain young quality due to less time spent with the wood. This one was a bit different than that, though.

The tanginess was almost like the sweet tanginess you get from vermouth or even rum finished barrels—a sweetness that has a thin line between sweet and too sweet. I thought this rye came pretty close to that line, but did not cross it.

It had an interesting combination of flavors going on. Though it took me a few drinks to pinpoint it, it has a nutmeg flavor that seemed to mix with the plum (perhaps that's the tanginess I noticed, like biting into a not-quite-ripe plum). However, it had that sugar cane flavor to it as well. I can't recall ever having plum pudding, but I imagine that if I had, that would be my flavor comparison here. I could be way off base here, so for now I'll just leave it as is and make it a point to try plum pudding some time.

All in all, this is a good rye that I feel, with some additional aging, can become a really good rye. That being said, this one was already bottled, so I drank it and enjoyed it. While it may not be on the list of my priorities as far as future purchases, it certainly has me interested in some of the other products that Dad's Hat offers, including the port finished rye I've seen on the shelves recently, and I may give one of those a go.

Grade: B

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