Dad’s Hat rye gets its name from the owner, who when trying to decide what to name his whiskey saw his dad’s hat on a table. That is the story I recall from meeting him at a dinner in Washington D.C. several years ago. I actually like the name – there is no pretense about an ancient family recipe or another such story. Besides, I like a good classy hat.

I was first introduced to Dad’s Hat rye by John Lipman several years ago. He has family in Pennsylvania and likes to research the Pennsylvania rye heritage. When this distillery opened he and Linda went for a visit and bought a bottle to bring home. He shared this bottle with me on a visit. I found it to be a good rye but young and had that small barrel taste – mostly oak without much vanilla and caramel notes from the barrel. To my knowledge they are still using the small barrels for aging which is a shame. This is a good rye distillate that deserves a full size barrel and several years of maturation. It is good whiskey now but would be excellent whiskey if aged for four years in a new 53 gallon barrel.

Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye

Proof: 90

Age: 6 months old

Nose: Very light. Ryegrass, oak wood and a hint of baking spices.

Taste: Ryegrass, a bit of citrus with oak and pepper spice. Tasted with a dried cranberry enhances the citrus notes and reduces the pepper spice. Tasted with a pecan and it becomes nothing but oak and pepper.

Finish: Dry with pepper spice and oak. The cranberry and the finish is dry oak but no spice. The pecan enhances the oak and pepper on the finish.

I decided to pair this with a Nub Cameroon cigar. I find the smoke is a mild tobacco with just a hint of spice and I thought it would pair well with this peppery rye. I was right. The rye added some vanilla notes and pepper spice to the smoke. The smoke actually brought out some vanilla notes in the rye. Very good together.

Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller