Whiskey Review: Anchor Old Potrero Single Malt Straight Rye Whiskey

Anchor Old Potrero Single Malt Straight Rye Whiskey

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about how brewers turn to spirits—for example, Portland’s own House Spirits. It seems like a natural and tasty progression.

The San Francisco-based Anchor Distilling Company is the spirits division of Anchor Brewers & Distillers. In addition to 10 different whiskey brands, Anchor Distilling Company distills a range of spirits—including absinthe, gin, rum, and vodka–at their location on Potrero Hill.

The brewery that would become Anchor was founded in 1871 by Gottlieb Brekle, with the Anchor name appearing in 1896 following the sale of the brewery. According to their website, Anchor saw a lot of ups and downs over the years, including the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Prohibition, and several ownership and location changes. In 1965, Fritz Maytag purchased Anchor to save it from bankruptcy and in 1977, moved Anchor to its current Potrero Hill location.

In 1993, Maytag opened Anchor Distilling Company. Anchor Old Potrero Single Malt Straight Rye Whiskey was their first spirit, aimed to recreate the original whiskeys of the U.S. It is distilled from 100 percent rye using a copper pot still, aged for 3.5 years in new, handmade charred oak barrels, and is 97 proof.

Tasting Notes:

Appearance: Dark gold.

Nose: Like you walked into a candy store, but a good one. Twizzlers—especially the pull & peel kind—red hots, red foil-covered chocolate cherries. Also orange peel, and then a note of spruce. It’s complex and delightful.

Palate: Red hot candies, cinnamon, and cherry give way to a smooth, nutty finish. There is lingering heat, but no burn. A little piney, menthol but it all somehow works very, very well.

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The nose is candy, but the taste isn’t. It’s rich, complex, and smooth. I’d drink this neat or it would even make a fantastic hot toddy. My focus group (consisting of my awesome-palated frequent co-taster) used it in a Manhattan and declared the results “fantastic.” (I was more jealous that he made one when I wasn’t around to sample.)

The Old Potrero Single Malt Straight Rye Whiskey will run you about $70 a bottle, but it’s well worth it.



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