Old Overholt Bonded Straight Rye Whiskey Review

The Narrative:

Old Overholt is said to be America’s oldest continually maintained whiskey brand founded in West Overton, Pennsylvania, in 1810. It is one of the last brands from the Pennsylvania rye distilling glory days. The distillery founded by Henry Oberholzer whose family came from Germany to settle. It was Henry’s son, Abraham Overholt who turned the family distillery into a significant business. He incorporated under the “A. Overholt & Co.” name. Originally known as Overholt’s “Old Rye” during the 1800’s. The current name was adopted around 1888 and became a national brand by 1900. It was in production during Prohibition marketed as a medicinal whiskey. Old Overholt ended up being owned by American Medicinal Spirits Co., that later changed to National Distillers. Which would later be acquired by Jim Beam Distilling Company.

A. Overholt & Co. which distills Old Overholt is currently a subsidiary brand of Beam Suntory. Given Old Overholt is one of America’s oldest rye brands. Jim Beam has put Old Overholt along with the bourbon Old Grand Dad, into a grouping known as “The Old’s”. They are for people who “like their whiskey to taste like whiskey”. The expressions are true in character to the time they were first produced. There are now two expressions available today. The standard Old Overholt is widely available around the country. It is aged for three years and bottled at 80 proof. The newest expression released in the later part of 2017 is at least a 4 year whiskey Bottled-In-Bond at 100 proof.

I have been looking for this particular bottle for some time now since I heard of its release. I am a big rye fan and am excited to give this one a taste.

Old Overholt Bonded Straight Rye Whiskey

Origin: Clermont, Kentucky

Distiller:Jim Beam Distillery

Mashbill: At least 51% Rye with some percentage of corn and barley

Cask: New charred oak

Age: At Least 4 Years Old

ABV: 50%/ 100 Proof

Price: Varies by Region (Picked up locally for $28.00)

Additionally: Non-chill filtered

Old Overholt Bonded Straight Rye Whiskey Review

Color:  Amber

Nose/Aroma: Initially I picked up a corn note followed by rye spice. Stewed fruit, more corn, some cinnamon, light caramel, oak, pepper, slight mint (not as much as I normally get with a rye), and cereal. It’s a sweet smelling whiskey.

Palate/Body: This is a tasty rye for the price. I have tried a good number of ryes and each has had something unique to itself. This one is no different. Medium body with a slight oily mouthfeel. Initially the color of this whiskey in the glass may throw you off into thinking it has a very light mouthfeel. That is until you have your first sip. This whiskey has good legs around the glass. Which is one characteristic to whiskey Jimmy Russell looks for from the interviews I have seen.

Finish: Solid medium finish with a slight burn. In the tail end of the finish I had more corn, rye spice, and cinnamon.

Overall: I thought this was a great purchase for the bar. I have not tried the standard expression mostly because of its low 80 proof nature. I have become a larger fan of 100 proof and above expressions. At that proof you can be assured of the bite you are looking for in a whiskey. Although I have been surprised by some whiskeys in the 90 to 95 proof range. And if it is a Bottled-In-Bond expression you can never go wrong. With the extra effort that goes into those expressions they don’t tend to disappoint.

And to refresh what a bonded product is for anyone here since I didn’t discuss it in the beginning of the article. Bottled-In-Bond expressions are from one distillery and one distiller in a single season. These barrels are stored in a federally approved Bonded warehouse under government supervision. Then they are aged for a minimum of four years and bottled at 100 proof. Only spirits produced in the United States can carry this designation. I learned a lot from listening to Bernie Lubbers on that specific topic. Go and listen to the Bourbon Pursuit podcast featuring Bernie and others for some great and ever expanding whiskey knowledge!

Have you tried this particular expression? What did you think? Leave a comment below!

Or have you had another bonded rye whiskey? Mention in the comments below!

Drink well friends! 🥃👍


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