Whiskey Review: Hochstadter’s Family Reserve Straight Rye Whiskey

Founded in 2006, The Cooper Spirits Company started with St-Germain, a liqueur made from elderflower blossoms. While Bacardi eventually acquired the St-Germain brand, Cooper Spirits continued adding whiskey brands to its portfolio, including Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Rock & Rye, Hochstadter’s Vatted Straight Rye Whiskey and Lock Stock & Barrel Straight Rye Whiskey.

In April, Cooper Spirits added Hochstadter’s Family Reserve Straight Rye Whiskey, the subject of this review, to its portfolio. As we mentioned in our previous review of Lock Stock & Barrel Straight Rye Whiskey, the founder of The Cooper Spirits Company, Robert J. Cooper, unexpectedly passed away in 2016. Before passing, Cooper hand-selected the barrels for this release from his company’s whiskey stocks.

Similar to Lock Stock & Barrel Straight Rye Whiskey, Cooper Spirits sourced Hochstadter’s Family Reserve Rye from Alberta Distillers Limited in Canada. As with other Canadian rye whiskies hailing from Alberta Distillers Limited, the mash bill includes 100% rye grain. While Alberta Distillers Limited offers new and used barrel aged options, wisely, Cooper Spirits selected new charred oak barrel aged rye whiskey of at least 16 years old for this barrel strength offering.

Hochstadter’s Family Reserve

image via Cooper Spirits

Tasting Notes: Hochstadter’s Family Reserve Straight Rye Whiskey

Vital Stats: Bottled from 16-year rye whiskey aged in new charred oak barrels, Hochstadter’s Family Reserve Rye clocks in at 123.8 proof. As mentioned previously, this whiskey is sourced from Alberta Distillers Limited’s 100% rye grain stock. With a release of only 7,500 bottles, if you happen to find a bottle, Hochstadter’s Family Reserve Straight Rye carries a suggested retail price of $199.99.

Appearance: In a glass, this rye appears a light copper brown. While aged 16 years, the cooler Canadian climate resulted in a slower aging cycle, which led to a lighter color than may be expected of a 16 year whiskey aged in a new charred oak barrel.

Nose: Seasoned oak, clove, and light notes of mint dominate the nose, and a lighter cereal note appears underneath.

Palate: On the front of the palate, baking spice notes of clove mingle with vanilla and oak. The baking spices carry over to the mid palate while the sweeter notes of vanilla and oak subside. Interestingly, a quick transition turns the sweeter notes to dark fruit notes, including a strong plum note that dominates the short and dry finish.

The Takeaway

Overall, Hochstadter’s Family Reserve rye offers a solid drinking experience. As older rye whiskies become scarcer, Hochstadter’s Family Reserve rye presents an intriguing option at barrel strength and 16 years old. However, much like other high-priced Canadian-sourced rye whiskies, such as the similarly priced Whistle Pig 15-Year rye, the retail price of $200 may be a deterrent for many.

With all that in mind, if you’re a whiskey drinker willing to pay for a premium rye whiskey, Hochstadter’s Family Reserve easily competes with other similarly priced options.

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Jordan Morris