One night, Eileen and I went to dinner near our apartment and the restaurant had a great selection of American whiskey, including Old Potrero. I had to get a glass.
And let's just say that, after that night, I was looking for more. We moved to Arizona soon after that meal, but I hadn't forgotten that whiskey. Once in AZ, I went to the liquor store and found it on the shelves for about $60. Normally, that would be a bit out of my range for an American whiskey, but I made an exception for this one.
The Old Potrero 18th Century Style Whiskey is made from 100% malted rye, which is very rare - usually the rye is mixed with other grains, especially malted barley, in the mashbill. It's a blend of whiskeys aged between 2 years 5 months and 3 years 9 months, and the barrels in which it's aged are toasted but not charred. The "essay" number mentioned in the title of this post is the batch identifier; they make the whiskey in small quantities and, from what I can tell from other online sources, the batches can vary quite a bit.
Oh, and it's bottled at 63.64% ABV, so you're guaranteed to get some bang for your buck.
Old Potrero 18th Century Style, Essay #10-RW-ARM-3-J, 63.64% ABV
Single malt rye American whiskey
Nose: Chocolate and butterscotch. Hardwood. Dried fruit, yet still maintains a freshnees or greenness. This nose is unlike anything else I've smelled - simultaneously musty and fresh, old and new.
Palate: Gripping with the high alcohol content. Starts off lighter and fruitier (apples, apricots) and then turns in waves of chocolate, aniseed, and malted rye. It feels thick but also light. This whiskey is contradiction in a bottle.
Finish: More chocolate, aniseed, and malt with lingering heat. Try not to drink this near an open flame.
Rating (of 100): 93. What an experience - not for the faint of heart at full barrel strength, but perfect for someone wanting an unforgettable experience. The first time I had this, I was blown away by its flavor waves (flaves?). I also tried the 19th Century Style, which is 45% ABV and from charred barrels (unlike the 18th Century Style, which uses uncharred barrels), but it didn't strike me as much as this one did.
Glad I was able to find this in Arizona, and definitely a whiskey to have if you want to try a unique and profound dram.