The Olde St. Nick brand has been around for several decades in the Japanese market. The brand was created by Marci Palatella. She started selling whiskey with brands such as Olde St. Nick in Japan in the 1980s and Julian Van Winkle III credits her with introducing him to the Japanese market for his whiskeys. She operated under a rectifier’s license for many years, but has built a distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky several years ago and is making whiskey for her brands at that distillery. The whiskeys being bottled now are still sourced whiskeys as her distillery is still fairly young and her brands are known for their extra age. She has an excellent palette and her whiskeys have a reputation for being quality products.
There is not a lot of information about this rye whiskey on the label or the brand’s website. Palatella has had a long relationship with the Kulsveens and have purchased many barrels from the stocks held by the Willett Distillery and that is the most likely source of this whiskey. This bottle is from Lot Number 9 and bottled at cask strength at 118.8 proof. There is no age statement so it is at least four years old and most likely several years older. Matt and I have tasted it and here are our tasting notes.
Very Olde St. Nick Harvest Rye Cask Strength
Age: No Age Statement
- Mike: Rye grass, caramel, dried fruit – prunes or figs, aromatic pipe tobacco and oak.
- Matt: Rye, prunes and allspice.
- Mike: Rye grass, raisins and prunes, cinnamon and allspice, caramel and oak. Tasted with a dried cranberry and some lemon zest comes out to join the fruits. Tasted with a pecan and the flavor becomes a little creamier and chewy with buttered caramel, raisins and baking spices.
- Matt: Rye, dark fruit, burnt caramel. The dried cranberry gave the whiskey a sugar coated raisin Danish pastry flavor with a hint of cinnamon. The pecan brought out some dark chocolate, prunes and a little cayenne pepper spice.
- Mike: Lots of oak and spice. The dried cranberry lengthened the finish and added a hint of that lemon zest lingering from the initial taste. The pecan made the finish very spicy with cinnamon, ginger and oak.
- Matt: Lots of oak with some pepper jelly notes. The dried cranberry gave it a spicy cinnamon and oak finish. The pecan had some lingering cayenne pepper and cinnamon spice with oak tannins.
I would pair this whiskey with a cigar rich in chocolate notes and cedar spice. A My Father The Judge cigar would be my first choice of smokes.
Photos courtesy of Rosemary Miller