By Father John Rayls
As a big fan of Anchor brewery, I have been anxious to get my hands on a few of the Anchor Distilling rye products. My first experience of this San Francisco
distillery is with their Single Malt Straight Rye Whiskey produced with a mashbill of 100% rye malt at 97 proof. It is bottled as a no age statement (NAS) whiskey, but is rumored to be about 3.5 years old and is aged in new charred oak casks. However, I am suspicious about the age even though it’s at least 2 years old.
The original brewery was founded in 1871, but was saved from bankruptcy by Fritz Maytag in 1965. However, distillery operations didn’t begin until 1993 when Fritz moved all Anchor operations to its current location on Potrero Hill in the Bay Area. Part of the original vision for its whiskey products was to make it “old-style” keeping it near what the original American distillers produced. They produce their whiskey in small copper-pot stills and in limited quantities. Originally, it was bottled as a young one year old. Today Anchor products include nearly 400 spirits from all over the world.
In fairness, I received a small tasting sample to review. Unfortunately, it was small enough to make a review difficult. The look of the rye in the glass is of dark gold. The legs are readily apparent, but are somewhat thin with many droplets remaining on the glass after the legs disappeared. The nose is on the subtle side and produces a sweet/spicey mix with no alcohol burn. The spice produces a nice soft cinnamon aroma with some slight oak underneath. The mouthfeel is a little surprising. There is a nice coating of the mouth, but it’s very light. The flavor profile is subtle as well. It activates the front of the tongue and the top back of the mouth with cinnamon (think redhots only not as spicey). The finish is medium and pleasant without any alcohol burn and continues the activity on the front of the tongue.
I found pricing on the Internet anywhere from $55.99 to $80.00. I suspect that it would make an interesting mixer in various cocktails for those so motivated. However, it’s an interesting sipping whiskey with some hidden complex flavors. I would certainly recommend trying it neat first due to its subtlety.