This one doesn’t qualify as “newsy” per se, as it’s made regular appearances on the market for he past decade. But it’s a bit of a rarity, so it’s probably new to you! It’s also the closest thing to drinking history that you’re ever really going to get. As you probably know, George Washington’s Mount Vernon partnered with the Distilled Spirits Council to reopen the first U.S. President’s late-eighteenth-century distillery. The facility is fully operational, mostly with technology that was available in the 1790s. The distillery produces very limited batches of its rye whiskey and bottles both an unaged version and a 2-year-old straight rye. I’m reviewing the unaged version.
I know that most people aren’t a fan of white whiskey, preferring to wait until it’s spent the requisite time in barrels. But there are a number of reasons why you need to try George Washington (unaged) Rye Whiskey. First, this is the best approximation of what original batches of ol’ G-Dubs’s tasted like, long before aging standards were imposed on whiskey. Any barrel-contributed color and flavor was the result of the (pre-railroad) lengthy journey to get from A to B. It’s the original 60 percent rye, 35 percent corn, 5 percent malted barley recipe that came off of Washington’s stills at the turn of the nineteenth century. Second, I tend to enjoy younger ryes than older ryes, and this is as young as it gets. Sure it’s a bit rough around the edges and would mellow a bit while it’s inside the oak. But if you really want to experience the character delivered by the grain without any interference from wood, this is what you want in your glass. Third, it’s the less-expensive option of the two bottlings. It’s still quite pricey—you’ll pay $95 for a 375-ml bottle, versus $188 for the same container of the 2-year-old—but if you’re lucky, you might be able to get your hands on a 50-ml mini-bottle and not have to suffer the sticker shock.
Finally, it just tastes so damned good! It alternates between spicy and fruity with a finish that’s faintly, though surprisingly, smoky—like a mesquite barbecue.