Whiskey Review: Old Overholt Bonded Rye - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Old Overholt Bonded Rye

What’s the sign of quality you look for in your whiskey? Is it a name brand? Its price? Age? Its color, nose or reputation?

One designation is “bottled-in-bond.” In the 1800s, whiskey wasn’t always…whiskey. It could be gin, vodka or any spirit that had additives such as food colorings, turpentine or licorice to turn it the desired brown. Drinking whiskey could kill you.

The Bottled-in-Bond Act arose out of that. It specified that a whiskey could only be referred to as bottled-in-bond if it was distilled entirely by one distiller at one American distillery in the same calendar year, aged at least four years in a federally bonded warehouse, and bottled at 100 proof.

So when you think of quality, do you think of Old Overholt? Yeaahhhhh…not so much, right? Typically relegated to the bottom shelf, the Beam Suntory-produced whiskey generally screams function over form. More get ‘er done than get it while the gettin’s good.

Maybe it was time for a change, thought the folks at Beam-Suntory. This past February, they released Old Overholt Bonded Rye, which we wrote about. Perhaps Old Overholt needs to glow up, as it were?

Tasting Notes: Old Overholt Bonded Rye

Vital stats: Straight rye, 100 proof, about $25.

Appearance: Tends more toward the brownish yellow, like light straw. But it also has a greenish cast, like a little bit like cheap “gold” jewelry that ends up “tarnished.”

Nose: The rye is definitely forward in the nose. It smells of cereal right at the point when it gets splashed with milk. Also hay, dry grass, and…is that lemon dishwasher detergent?

Palate: Despite (because of?) being aged four years, this still has a young quality to it. It’s not sweet, there’s a little sting at first, and then it mellows into salted caramel. It actually tastes like a whiskey ginger. Not whiskey that would be good in a whiskey ginger but like this is actually a bottled version of a whiskey ginger highball. That’s fine: I like whiskey gingers.

The Takeaway

For $25, the value here is really good. It’s not a top shelf sipper by any means, but keep it within arm’s reach and you’ll do just fine. I’d be grand with this for a Manhattan or even a Brooklyn, if you like a drier version. Or heck, if you really like whiskey gingers, make this a double.

User Rating 3.75 (4 votes)