Guest Review - Dad's Hat Pennsylvania Rye
Company: Dad’s Hat (Mountain Laurel Spirits)
Age: NAS (At least 6 months in new, charred, 15 gallon quarter casks)
Classification: American Rye Whiskey
Mash Bill: 80% rye, 15% malted barley, 5% malted rye.
Price: c. £50
Our favourite (only) guest reviewer is back! Aiden returns and continues his run of reviewing Rye whiskey. So sit back (like the Gents are now doing as they have one less review to write) and read the views of Aiden Bertie - whisky reviewer extraordinaire & still honorary Gent for life.
Dad’s Hat is a craft distiller based in Pennsylvania that attempt to recreate a rye whiskey in the fashion of the first distillers of whiskey in America, an extinct style called Monongahela Rye after the Monongahela River around which it was originally distilled centuries ago. These distillers were typically farmers that found themselves with a surplus of rye and the rest is history. Well, until the whiskey rebellion but that’s another story.
For this review Aiden drank it neat in a Glencairn glass.
I think it’s worth noting at this point the fairly dark, amber colour of the whiskey. I’m guessing the quarter casks have a lot of impact on the spirit in quite a short period given that it’s likely this whiskey spends less than a year in wood.
What Adien got – The nose is quite light and I can poke my nose right in there without any alcohol taking my nose hairs off! There’s a definite floral note there and something I can’t quite put my finger (nose?) on that reminds me of some scotches I’ve had, maybe that’s the malted grain?
What they say he should get – Floral and spicy. (Not a lot to go on but this is from their own website!)
What Aiden got – No sweet notes, this is a very savoury whiskey. I’m guessing that is due to the lack of corn in the mash bill but someone more qualified than me will know the answer to that one. This is very obviously a rye with a slight prickle on the tongue however I think the youth betrays it a little here, making it rather one dimensional. The quarter casks may ‘age’ the whiskey faster but there just isn’t the complexity of older ryes. Not unpleasant, but not one I’d order twice in one night at a bar
What they say he should get – Well balanced mouth feel and flavour. Up front and back end spice, cinnamon on the mid-palate. Underlying notes of dried fruit and black cherry with hints of tobacco, vanilla and oak
What Aiden got – Fairly short finish. The only new note that follows on from the palate is a brief (and my favourite whiskey note EVER!) Bakewell tart flavour. Leaves a grassy rye taste behind but it disappears quickly
What they say he should get – No mention of a finish on the Dad’s Hat website
Presentation wise I quite like the bottle but then I like most American whiskey bottles! The whiskey has a fairly deep colour in the glass, hiding its youth.
I found this to be quite pleasant but not one I’d sip for any great length of time, there just isn’t much to it, I found it so one dimensional that I could probably have written about the palate and finish just from the nose. Although I do love that Bakewell tart flavour that I usually get from wheated bourbon it was just too brief to really change my opinion of this whiskey (ok, maybe I gave it an extra point!).
Quite a unique whiskey in my experience but a victim of it’s youth. I think if this was aged for longer we could have a very different whiskey in that bottle, as I’ve said there’s just no complexity to it. I know Dad’s Hat do have expressions that they have aged for longer (long enough to label straight rye and bottled in bond) so maybe those are a step up, I think I’d quite like to try them after this.
So all in all, not a bad whiskey, just a young whiskey. I doubt I’d buy another bottle and I’ll most likely try this in a Manhattan and Sazerac to see how it holds up in cocktails.
5 out of 10
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