Join farmer, distiller, and co-owner of Far North Spirits Mike Swanson on a deep dive into rye. Mike has recently published a first-of-its-kind crop research study that reveals the significant impact rye grain varietals have on flavor.
After growing 15 different varieties of rye over three years and distilling each, Swanson’s recently published results break new ground in the world of whiskey. We will compare white whiskey distilled from individual rye varieties, as well as a few of the same varieties post-aging in barrels.
Discussion will include notable differences between hybrid and open-pollinated rye varieties and ease (or lack thereof) of processing and distillation among the varieties tested. The grain matters!
As the new American whiskey boom has exploded across the country in this new century, most of the attention has gone to the role of the craft distillery, and the distiller, as the hallmarks of entrepreneurial success. As these new brands harken back to heroes of 2 centuries ago to create a bond with the past as an identity for the present, they often pass over the group that was both the substantial core of the whiskey trade, as well as its most maligned: the rectifier or the non-distillery producer.
With a new emphasis on transparency and authenticity, they, like their cousins, Scotch whisky blends, have been saddled with a stigma that is out of character with the quality of their products.
As we’ve seen lately, this new class of entrepreneur has shown itself once again as the core of the new wave: sourcing fine, aged whiskies from current distillery stock to create a new approach to an old drink. Success stories abound throughout the last 20 years of brands, distillers and non-distillers alike, that have quenched the thirst for bourbon, rye and other aged and interesting spirits.
With the help of Cooper Spirits, we’ll examine this new merchant class and taste some examples of how these spirits are not only worth the investigation, but worth the investment.
Robin Robinson is the author of “The Complete Whiskey Course: A Comprehensive Tasting Guide in Ten Lessons”. He is a trusted sales and marketing consultant for small and emerging spirit brands finding a route to market and teaches the longest running whiskey class in the US, Whiskey Smackdowns, in New York City, now in its 11th year. He is an Executive Steward with The Stave and Thief Society, a judge for the prestigious Concours Mondial de Bruxelles spirits competition and a member of the Moonshine U faculty. His travelling one man show, The Story of Whiskey, is billed as “60 minutes of bad standup comedy punctuated by drinking”.