Thursday, February 19, 2015

Dusty Thursday: Antique Rye

Today's dusty is an eight year old bottle of Antique Rye, a Kentucky rye that was distilled in 1932, toward the end of prohibition, and bottled in 1940.  It's bottled in bond so we know that it was distilled at the Jefferson County Distillery which was owned by Frankfort Distilleries at that time.  Frankfort Distilleries owned distilleries in both Kentucky and Maryland and produced whiskey under a number of labels, including Four Roses.  The company was purchased by Seagram's in the late 1940s.

I couldn't find any record of a Jefferson County Distillery, but Frankfort Distilleries did own an interest in a distillery in Jefferson County which it used to distill medicinal whiskey during prohibition:  The A. Ph. Stitzel Distillery in Louisville.  Based on that history, this rye was likely distilled at the Stitzel Distillery.

Antique Rye, 8 yo, distilled Fall 1932, bottled Fall 1940, 50% abv

The nose has lots of rye and those great old sandalwood notes that old ryes tend to have.  It then develops some perfume notes.  The first thing you get on the palate is rye spice, then a very medicinal, spicy note, and then it just cascades.  This is like eating Oaxacan black mole in that it's so densely flavored that you need to concentrate to pick out individual notes. There's clove, unsweetened cocoa, Zinfandel, black licorice...all kinds of stuff.  It trails off with the medicinal notes which initially leave you with a bitter, medicinal finish. Over the course of the very long finish, though, the bitterness fades and leaves a nice spicy note.

I love the complexity of this rye, but the medicinal notes in the late palate and early finish were a bit strong for me.  Still, it's a fun taste of the last years of prohibition.

1 comment:

Josh Feldman said...

Fantastic stuff! Thanks for posting tasting notes of this wonderful bottle. I've seen a near identical bottle, but it had been opened and left 3/4 full for a long time (perhaps since the 30s). I didn't get to taste it in any event. I've always wondered.