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Dad's Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey

You'll Eat Your Hat!

2 1089

@talexanderReview by @talexander

27th Dec 2015


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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  • Brand: Dad's Hat
  • ABV: 45%

Mountain Laurel Spirits distills their rye whiskey out of the Grundy Mill Distillery in Bristol, PA. All they make is rye, and they call it Dad's Hat (with a classy, old-fashioned fedora on the label). The distiller is Herman Milhalich, who apparently does a pretty wide cut of the spirit, which is then blended by John Cooper after maturation. The mashbill is 80% rye, 15% malt and 5% malted rye, which is the traditional bill for rye whiskey in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of American rye (far predating bourbon production). The spirit is matured in quarter casks for only 8-9 months before being bottled.

The colour is a reddish gold. Quite spirity and youthful on the nose, with green apple skins, fresh cut grass, sawn lumber, mint and molasses. Oaky and spicy. Quite powerful, extremely floral and herbal. A pleasure to nose, but avoid water as it dampens both nose and palate.

On the palate there is cinnamon, peach, cayenne and quite a bit of wood. Juicy. Dried fruits, pipe tobacco and plum pudding, but with a spicy rye kick in the pants.

The finish is long, fruity, and well balanced between spice and oak. A bit too spirity for a Manhattan, this is regardless a rye of exceptional quality. Lew Bryson scored this a 90 and awarded it Craft Whiskey of the Year for the 2015 Whisky Advocate Awards. Challenging but rewarding, this whiskey is a lot of fun to drink. Thank you to my friend Steven Radcliffe for leaving this heel behind after our annual holiday tasting party!


Robert99 commented

@talexander great review. Sounds like a winner to me. Do you know if it is available in Canada?

5 years ago 0

talexander commented

I can only speak for Ontario (where it is definitely not available), don't know about other provinces. My sample came from a friend who picked it up in the US.

5 years ago 0

paddockjudge commented

Yes @talexander, this whisky is a lot of fun to drink. I visited that particular bottle more than once at the unparalleled and immensely enjoyable annual holiday tasting party.

5 years ago 0

talexander commented

"Unparalleled" he says! Well, that is a high compliment, my friend! It was a great time, and I'm very glad Steven brought it. I still have a wee bit left...

5 years ago 0

Nozinan commented

All I remember from that bottle is what I wrote in my notebook.... Pickle juice and spices on the nose...

5 years ago 0

talexander commented

@Nozinan, those are definitely some dominant notes - though I don't mention pickle juice in my review, that's a very good description.

5 years ago 0

RikS commented

I recently had this recommended to me by a friend in New York when I was visiting last week, he was raving about it as the 'best of the ryes'. So, I'm toying with getting one... @victor your rye advice to me have been pretty spot on so far, and I'm still enjoying the 'cheap' but rather very pleasant Rittenhouse - how would you rate Dad's Hat?

2 years ago 0

OdysseusUnbound commented

I’m not 100% sure, but I think I’ve heard Mark Gillespie mention that Ol’ George Washington himself was distilling rye whiskey in Mount Vernon in the 1770s. Maybe Virginia is the real birthplace of American Rye. Or maybe that’s a whole lotta speculation. Who knows?

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

Victor commented

My long post lost, so this one is briefer:

@RikS, yes, I highly recommend Dad's Hat Rye.

@OdysseusUnbound Mount Vernon Distillery was active for the last 2 years of George Washington's life, ending December 1799. Mount Vernon Distillery was resurrected and produces now. You can tour it for yourself along with Washington's impressive gristmill. Pennsylvania was the epicenter of US rye whiskey production prior to Prohibition. Maryland had a number of rye whiskey distilleries then too. Doc Holliday's drink of choice in Tombstone, Arizona or Dodge City, Kansas, was Old Overholt Rye, from western Pennsylvania.

It is great to see these latter day Pennsylvania and New York State small distilleries putting out the old style ryes, with 65-95% rye content.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

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