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Old Potrero 18th Century Style Rye Whiskey

Average score from 5 reviews and 11 ratings 89

Old Potrero 18th Century Style Rye Whiskey

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Old Potrero 18th Century Style Rye Whiskey

The Anchor Distilling Company in San Fransisco offers a great view of the Potrero Hills, East of Mission District, the city’s center. Anchor brews a beer that is quite nice, but today let us focus on their whiskey, marketed as an 18th Century Style. It is made of 100% malted rye, which is rather exceptional. It is released in small batches, which means there are huge variation. We try the 2 Year 5 Months version at 63,64% ABV, distilled in 2008.

The nose is quite green on all kinds of garden herbs. Underlying is a very sweet touch of white chocolate, filled with candied fruits. Loads of aniseed too. Butterscotch. A sour touch makes this a special nose, but I cannot say I am very fond of it.

It is hot and burning (what did you expect?) and honeysweet. First I get some fruit (apricots in the lead), then the aniseed arrives in full force, flanked by some pepper. There is hardly a trace of the chocolate that I had on the nose. Instead I get a lot of herbal elements. The rye is dominant. Something surprisingly dusty.

The finish is fairly long, hot and allows the chocolate to return.

Weird whiskey that is not really up my alley. Must be me.

While this bottle is very different, for me, it is in the best possible way. If you get a chance, do sample Old Potrero again (I am fortunate to have the same bottle that you reviewed...if you ever come to the Toronto area, let me know!).

For me, this whiskey is like drinking a grain silo. It is not your typical whiskey, but it is an awesome bottle that is well constructed. You can taste the 100% rye and the light char from the barrel.


Essay 10-RW-ARM-3-L

Nose: Always interesting, and remains distinct. Funky, with some buttery quality akin to fine aged agave. Ripe and funky fruit, grain, too, banana and apricot. Rye spice - off-sweetly malty -- and light honey and oak. Lots of fresh barley (or at least what I imagine it'd smell like) with the usual rye notes emerging, but only just, and in the background. The oak and grain is unique in this dram.

Palate: Honey, rye spice, sweet oak (not bitter, just dry) , rye bread, and then lots more funky barley. Sweet, off-sweet, spicy, a little sour, and a lot funky. Hm, no trends here. Perhaps even reminiscent of the funky and buttery rich quality in the background of kirschwasser or another fruit eau-de-vie from a fruit distilled with the stone still in the mix.

Finish: This is really a different number, and I can see how it wouldn't be for everybody. Fortunately, it is for me. A great change of pace number, and great in its own right if you go for this sort of thing. Fascinating to see how the same ingredients can produce such a broadly different profile with various differences in preparation. Flavorful and fun, a melange of qualities and characteristics. Hard to pin-point it, so let's be conservative around with this score

Hi, I'm glad somebody else find the agave in it. I just want to suggest that if you would like your drinking experience to be less of a rocky mountain ride you could cool it down a bit. The other day I had my bottle in my car for a few hours when the weather was very cool and when I came inside and pour myself a dram I find it more focus and more balance. The grappa is still there for me but the whiskey is back. Wow!


Nose Overrype cherries (the type of cherries that have been for too long in a light syrup and start to turn milk chocolate brown), red tea, tequilla smoke (agava), nutmeg and winey. Taste Now a sip... The mouth follow the nose. First the spices then a wave of red winey tea grow in my mouth and I think "Grappa". While it is still there, little splash of nail polish and a droplet of orange appear and disappear rapidly. Finish The finish is like the beginning with the return of the spices (with some pepper for a moment and a hint of chili) overcoming the red tea And achieving a great balance with good lenght. Very beautiful... Overall This rye is for grappa lovers! It is so uncommoned whisky that I am sure a lot of you will hate it and will stop their drinking asking themselves where is the whisky in that dram! Their also some drinkers that will salute this drink by asking another glass as soon as they will finish the first. As for me, I love it but I am still puzzled by it, mainly when it is time to describe it to whisky lovers. Maybe I will deal with my confusion by pouring myself an other glass! Cheers!

@Victor, I was fortunate to find a bottle in NY last summer. Recently, I just let my whisky advisor at the state liquor store having a sample of it. He was so impressed with it that he will pressure the state buyers to get it for Quebec. So maybe in a near future, I will find it in Montréal. I want to add that the agava did?t last over the months. In fact, It vanished in about three weeks. But it is still an amazing dram.

@Robert99, it is fun to read your review. Where did you find a bottle of Old Potrero? I am always looking for more.

Yes, Old Potrero 18th Century Style Whiskey is in a class all by itself.


So after months of attempting to get to our local whisky bar, Helvetica. Trying to dodge bad work days, sickness, public holidays, and an emergency appendicitis we finally made it.

It has been a VERY busy evening for my wife and I. We started what was term.

ed "The Date Night" with Glenfarclas 12 yr old at dinner and then Yamazaki 12 yr old, Hakushu 12 yr old, and Glenmorangie Nectar D'or.

We joined up with my brother and sister in law after quite a bit of confusion for what we termed as Family Whisky Fun Times for Amrut Fusion, Glenmorangie Astar, and Aberlour Abunadh batch 35.

Now was the time for the stuff of legends!

Old Potrero 18th Century Rye.

Now I had heard about this whisky for months now. From my friends here on Connosr, especially one of my whisky mentors Victor.

When I had originally planned to go to Helvetica this had NOT been on the list so I am EXTREMELY happy that my wife and I were not able to make our first few attempts to come visit because otherwise we wouldn't have been able to try this EXTREMELY different whisky.

Now when I saw that this whisky was on the menu I think the top of my head exploded off in excitement!

So I planned my tasting list carefully and excitably and worried that they would run out of Old Potrero before we were able to visit.

Happily this was not to be the case!

As I order a drink of this I REALLY have no idea of what to expect. I've heard this can be a weird whisky and I have no clue whatsoever to expect and I am sure to let my wife and my in laws know this. All I know is that this is like nothing we've never tried before.

I pass the glass around and everyone gives it a good nose.

One thing we all agree on is: Lemon grass and cut grass.

Between us we get is rye, hints of spice, alcohol and some sugar.

The flavor is similar: Cut grass, ryes, with a lot of sweetness.

The finish is long with lots of rye.

I've never left feeling so fulfilled and unsatisfied. My palate and those of my wife and in laws is unsufficient to the awesomeness of this whisky.

This is an AWESOME whisky with bags and bags of flavor with an insane amount of depth. Everyone pulled a little bit something different from the whisky, but we all got something awesome.

This whisky is something special and awesome, just as my mentor Victor described. It is EXTREMELY rare and I have only found it for around $160 AUS and even then I have not confirmed it.

I'm SO buying a bottle of this!!

Next on the block on Ardbeg Corryvreckin!!


Intro: San Francisco's Anchor Brewing Company also operates Anchor Distilling Company, which produces three Old Potrero Rye Whiskeys, each made from 100% malted rye. The Old Potrero 18th Century Style Whiskey attempts to recreate the style and taste of the whiskeys made and consumed in America in the late 18th century. At the time of his death in 1799 George Washington's Mount Vernon rye whiskey distillery was one of the most commercially successful distilleries in the US. Anchor Distilling's Old Potrero 18th C. Style Whiskey combines 2 batches of whiskey, each of which is aged between 2 and 4 years in new lightly toasted, but not charred, oak barrels. The whiskey is sold at barrel proof. This sample is @ 63.64% ABV (127.28 proof)

Nose: When the bottle was first opened the nose was like funky rotting grain in a barn. After the bottle was opened for 3 weeks the nose shifted to pleasant ripe grain with hints of rye spice, a little medicinal odour, and maple sugar.

Taste: Extremely intense rye spices with a bit of a sour and sweet alternation of flavours. The taste buds sizzle and pop with pepper, wood sweetness, and alcohol astringency.

Finish: Long intense rye flavours simmering on the tongue forever.

Balance: This is an experienced drinker's drink. I prefer to drink this neat, even though the company suggests adding water or ice. The more I drink this the more I love it. The flavours are astonishingly intense. Jim Murray's 2011 Whisky Bible comments on this: "...After tasting this I need to lie down somewhere and rest. Because so few whiskeys in the world are half as big as this, or more fun. Forget about descriptors; this one writes its own book." Jim: AMEN!

Well, i'm almost ashamed to admit this, but i've had a bottle of this in my cabinet for almost 10 years without touching it! I used to be the head chef of a brew pub in Berkeley and many years ago the owner had purchased this for myself and the GM. At the time i was young and really only cared about craft beer. Since, i have moved to the east coast and brought this along with me. Over the last several years i have really taken a liking to whisky, especially American. So recently i decided to dust off this old bottle to have a go, and wow, i was floored! I remembered thinking when i first received it in CA that it was quite harsh and that is was just some "experiment" from Anchor Brewing Co. Boy was i wrong. This time i let it breath, and added just a touch of cold filtered water. I thought this really took the initial burn away and really brought out the rest of the flavors. I'm glad i discovered this website and in particular this review, when i get home i going to try it again neat. Cheers!

@OlJas, @chrisbator, I do hope that the availability of Old Potrero 18th Century Style Whiskey remains good. Some of it made it for the first time ever to Maryland about 6 months ago. My sister saw three bottles on a shelf and bought them. Turns out that was 25% of the allocation for this state of 5.9 million people. It will likely be another year before any more comes to Maryland. No sign of Single Malt Rye or Hotaling's Whiskey here.

From the outside, Hotaling's Whiskey appears to be a very long-term experiment in aging one batch of distillate for a progressively longer number of years. I wonder how much longer it can and will go on. Based on my 14yo MMIX bottling of Hotaling's Whiskey, current Hotaling's, if they are still bottling it, should be a 19 yo.

I've found 18th Century Style in the past at at least 4 different DC stores, always 1-3 bottles, always a rare, temporary and occasional find. Never have I seen either Single Malt Rye or Hotaling's Whiskey on a DC shelf. The only Single Malt Rye I have gotten has been through a store on Long Island, and the only Hotaling's Whiskey from a 400 mile trip to a store in Northern New Jersey.

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