whiskeyrant: ‘,… it was one of Abraham Lincoln’s favourite whiskeys’.
whiskeyauctioneer: ‘At the close of Prohibition the brand’s owners, the Mellon family, sold Old Overholt to National Distillers who continued to produce it for the next half century despite declining popularity in rye whiskey in US after the second world war. National Distillers closed their last Pennsylvania distillery in the 1950s, so it is unclear where they were distilling the brand by this point, but it was bottled at their DeKuyper Cordial plant in Cincinnati, Ohio‘.
Old Overholt today is produced alongside Old-Grandad by Jim Beam who acquired both brands from National Distillers in 1987.
N: Just like the Guillon-Painteraud cognac [WLP189 & WLP289], the Camus [above], and the Deanston [coming soon], I’d drunk 4/5th of the bottle before taking a single note – a theme perhaps? Like the Guillon-Painturaud, this is a soft low-abv expression. This particular bottle has also faded and probably never had a great deal of weight behind it, to begin with. Despite its shortcomings, there’s plenty to tap into. Of note, on the herbal front we’ve dried oregano, mint and spearmint with caramel, dry oak, floral into peach, dried clementine. ginger, cinnamon/aniseed perhaps, rum & rhum, a suggestion of sweet Swarfega, eucalyptus-based gym aromas, onion rye bread, sour Mr. Kipling’s,… In short, basic on first contact, more impressive behind the scenes.
T: Over the nose, it’s considerably faded/flat with a thin weak body and some weary OBE. Given how lacklustre it is, what then is the appeal? Once you’ve accepted the bottle for what it is, it’s a palate pleaser. You just need to layer it up. That means taking a few slugs and saturating the palate. Once done, presented is a uniquely tasty succinctly complex soft bitter-fresh herbal and light molasses > caramel sweet rye, which really frames this one’s appeal. A subtle yet complex ice-cream cinnamon candy and clementine sweetness is ever-present, along with a dry herbal & peppermint/mint fusty note, a hint of eucalyptus and > Lynx. The short journey only encourages more frequent sips = dangerous!
F: It soon fades after the arrival and brief unravel, becoming more caramel-ed and with a hint at some old charred casks that probably now sit in halves in someone’s garden. Finishes super-light yet without incident. There’s no tannin whatsoever nor contemporary vanillins. It simply buzzes softly with a mix of four of the main palate senses, without the presence of umami. At the death, oregano, Italian herbs and soft-oaky-dry mildly sweet fusty herbal mint/spearmint-fresh with a thin spread of ginger < orange peel & caramel ice cream. It’s one of those light [blend-like] finishes that just begs for one more small pour, just to make sure.
C: This bottom shelf budget bourbon has a minimal reputation amongst the bourbon community, but it’s a refreshingly soft old skool bourbon style that’ s not available today. I’d be happy with another bottle, but I can really see this one dividing a room. I’d imagine things might be different had this been bottled at 46%. Maybe Ralfy’s pure alcohol boosting would be an idea?