Old Overholt is one of the oldest names in American Whiskey dating back to 1810. It was originally a Pennsylvania rye. It became part of National Distillers during prohibition and became one of their flagship brands. The bottled-in-bond Old Overholt was one of their four major brands as medicinal whiskey during Prohibition. Jim Beam purchased National Distillers in the 1980s and moved production to Kentucky. For many years they limited production of the brand to an 80 proof whiskey but with the growing interest in both rye and bonded whiskey, they recently released an Old Overholt Bottled-in-Bond.
Jim Beam has always done well by this brand. They kept the flavor profile similar to what it was under National Distillers. The brand has a loyal following and this bonded version should make them very happy. I find it to be a bit more flavorful than the 80 proof Old Overholt. I believe it would work well in a cocktail such as a Manhattan.
Old Overholt Bottled-in-Bond
Age: No Age Statement but at least 4 years of age.
Nose: Rye grass, caramel and fruit – ripe pears and apples, with a hint of oak and leather.
Taste: Rye grass, caramel and baking spices – cinnamon and nutmeg. Just a hint of fruit sweetness and oak. Tasted with a dried cranberry and the spice comes forward dominating the flavor. Tasted with a pecan and the caramel picks up a little chocolate note and the fruit becomes a bit more stone fruit like apricot and cherries. The spice is reduced but still there.
Finish: Long and dry with oak and spices. The dried cranberry makes the finish a bit shorter and more spice than oak. The pecan gives the finish a bit of a sweet start but quickly dries out with some oak and baking spices.
I really like this rye. Hats off to Jim Beam for releasing this whiskey. The brand has a rich heritage and deserves a full flavored whiskey like in the old days. It pairs well with a cigar as well. Today I am having a Rocky Patel Martinique Toro, TAA 50th Anniversary. The cigar gives the rye an almost brandy-like fruitiness and diminishes the spice. The rye makes the smoke take on a note of chocolate. A very nice pairing.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller