Another great addition to America’s burgeoning craft distilling scene. Old Tahoe’s history is tied closely to a family of Italian immigrants who moved to the States, bringing with them a strong emphasis on fine food and wine. This was passed on to Mark Taverniti, the grandson of the original Italian immigrants, who became involved in the wine and beer industry, founding his own brewery. After this he moved into distilling, creating the Old Tahoe brand. The whiskey is distilled at The Frey Ranch in Fallon, Nevada. This is a farm distillery, meaning that Old Tahoe controls the quality of the product from grain to glass.
This particular bottling is a fantastic 100% Rye whiskey, meaning that entire mashbill was made of delicious, spicy rye. Ordinarily, Rye whiskies are cut with a little corn or malted barley in the mashbill, so this is a relatively rare chance to taste this fine grain without any adulteration. Old Tahoe states that their aim is to create a Rye that is reminiscent of the whiskey that was available during America’s Colonial history. As such the whiskey has been aged in fresh American oak casks for a minimum 3 years and is a small batch production bottled at 43% ABV. On the nose this is a spicy, fresh and herbaceous affair, with caramel and cherry wood flavours, and some succulent fruit. The palate remains faithful to the nose, adding a little more chili spice, with some barrel char and sweet cereal flavours. The finish lingers, with a herbal quality and a little toffee. This rye whiskey is bottled in 750ml bottles, giving you a little extra dram for your buck, and features a tribute to Taverniti’s late pet Labrador, “Puck”. Old Tahoe Straight Rye was awarded a Gold Medal at the San Francisco International Spirits Competition of 2016.
For a 100% rye mashbill, this is delicate and almost floral in character. The finish is very clean. It suggests itself as a better whiskey neat or with a splash of water than in a cocktail, although I imagine it would make a superb Manhattan or Old Fashioned if the bartender had a sensitive touch. It feels very much like a quality Canadian whiskey would taste if it were pure rye. It would make a superb introduction to rye as opposed to some of the .38 revolver and pack of Lucky Strikes styles on the market. If there is any criticism, I would say that it will not appeal to those looking for a more tough and tumble dram.
Delicious rye whiskey with perfect spice balance and smooth taste. No lingering taste on the palate.