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Dad's Hat Rye Whiskey

Dad's Hat
Pennsylvania Rye


By Robert Plotkin

Rye whiskeys share a common heritage uniquely American. In fact, prior to Prohibition, they were our nation's whiskey of choice. Rye whiskeys are spirits with broad shoulders and a lot of personality, a character no doubt molded from our collective national self-image. Handcrafted Dad's Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey is just such a spirit.

The brand is made at the Grundy Mill Distillery in Bristol, Penn, from a mash bill of locally sourced rye (80%), malted rye (5%) and malted barley (15%). The grain is milled, slowly fermented into a sweet mash, and then twice distilled in a hybrid, copper pot still outfitted with a column. After the white whiskey exits the still it is transferred into newly charred, American white oak quarter-casks for maturation. The whiskey is aged an average of 8½ months and bottled at 45% alcohol (90 proof).

During its stay in wood, the whiskey develops a reddish/brown appearance, a satiny textured body and a generous bouquet of freshly ground pepper, cocoa, malt and baking spice. The aromatics alone are worth the price of admission. The entry is spicy warm as it fills the mouth with the flavors of cinnamon, dried fruit, vanilla, caramel and waves of malty sweetness. The whiskey lingers on the palate and then slowly fades away.

"Dad's Hat Straight Rye Whiskey is distilled in the ‘Pennsylvania/Monongahela' style, which was so popular during the years leading up to Prohibition," says John Cooper, co-founder of Mountain Laurel Spirits. "We're really excited to see the number of people that are embracing the various styles and flavor profiles of rye whiskey. It is particularly exciting to see the interest in craft spirits and the whiskey knowledge in the 21 to 35 year old age group. It bodes well for the continued growth of American Whiskeys."

Following the successful launch of the brand's classic rye whiskey, the company launched two exceptional, wood-finished expressions. The first is Dad's Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey Vermouth Finish.

When the rye whiskey has attained the desired flavor profile, it is removed from the quarter casks that they were aged in and transferred to oak barrels used previously to age Vya Sweet Vermouth, a highly sought-after brand of vermouth made by the Quady Winery of Madera, CA.

After 3 months spent in vermouth barrels, the 94-proof whiskey develops a more substantial body and acquires semisweet, wine-like aromas. On the palate, the whiskey is a dead ringer for the classic Manhattan. The spicy rye and sweet vermouth marry seamlessly. The lingering finish is loaded with flavors of raisins, plums, caramel, toffee and dates. It's complex and distinctly delicious.

The range also includes Dad's Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey Port Finish. In this case, the 94-proof whiskey is finished in barrels used to age Quady Port. The port adds decidedly fruity, spicy notes to the nose and irresistible, semisweet depth on the finish. The fade is remarkably long and flavorful, which makes this an excellent whiskey to sip neat or served with a solitary cube of ice.