Journeyman Distillery, based out of a historic factory in the great state of Michigan, is known far and wide to lovers of craft whiskey for its range of handcrafted organic spirits, including some amazing bourbon, wheat and rye whiskies. Last year, in honor of President’s Day weekend, it released a very limited edition rye closely resembling “the original recipe George Washington sipped himself.” I managed to snag a bottle for my collection by calling them to get one delivered. This year, in response to a demand for it, Journeyman has released a larger batch of this wondrous whiskey, totaling around 2,000 bottles for distribution to select markets.
Federalist 12 Whiskey, as it is called, gets its name from Alexander Hamiltion’s famous Federalist No 12 essay, which Journeyman has gone into great detail explaining in a blog post on its website. Essentially this essay was part of a collection of writings supporting the new Constitution of the United States. In it, Hamilton wrote that a tax on whiskey “should tend to diminish the consumption of it,” and that “such an effect would be equally favorable to the agriculture, to the economy, to the morals, and to the health of the society.”
These points, noted the distillery, “were used as the basis for the first tax imposed on a domestic product by the new federal government. The so-called ‘whiskey tax’ was passed in 1791 and almost immediately led to outrage.” This outrage turned into the Whiskey Rebellion of 1791, in which tax collectors would be tarred, whipped and feathered before the tax was ultimately repealed.
The new rye whiskey sports a mash bill also containing a large percentage of corn for “tamping down the spiciness of the rye and resulting in a smooth, easy-drinking” 90 proof spirit. It is pricing around $50 for a 750 ml bottle and should be popping up shortly at whiskey retailers in California, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Wisconsin. At the time of this posting I saw a few bottles already available online, for example, through Binny’s and Ezra’s.
Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...