A couple years ago, PlumpJack partnered with Hardwater to collaborate on the first initial offering of private casks from Anchor Distilling Co. Since then, the company has sold off its entire brewing division to Sapporo, while maintaining its distilling and import business. They changed their name to Hotaling & Co., the name shared with one of their whiskey releases, and also in reference to A.P. Hotaling. Hotaling came out West during the Gold Rush and quickly became one of the most reputable spirits dealers in the country. The original building even survived the 1906 earthquake. The whiskey you hold today was selected first from a batch of nearly 15 different cask samples that hit the San Francisco market earlier this year. With focus on distillery operations now that the brewery is gone, I think it’s safe to say that there will be many great whiskies coming in the future!
Joshua Thinnes, Whisk(e)y Evangelist
Old Potrero Rye, PlumpJack Single Barrel
New American oak for 4.5 years
San Francisco, CA, USA
Hotaling & Co. Distillery
Master Distiller, Bruce Joseph
$105 per bottle
Fritz Maytag was more than just the visionary who ushered the Maytag line of appliances into the global presence it is today. He had the foresight to revive Rye whiskey back from near levels of extinction, and established the Anchor Distilling Company. He was inspired by the Rye whiskies of yesteryear, as well as the single malt Scotches of Scotland. The first whiskies he created made it into barrel in 1994, and soon after, Anchor Distillery began producing three rye expressions under the Old Potrero label, named after the San Francisco neighborhood where the distillery were located. Labeling it ‘Single Malt Rye’ confused people who thought of malted barley when they saw the word ‘malt’; this of course is referring to the process done to the grain to coax out sugar, not the grain itself.
In 2006 the release of an 18yr old expression of Hotaling Rye made it the oldest ‘craft’ whiskey released at the time, a feat that would still be true even today. Since then, the distilleries released other products like Juniper Gin and Genever, well before the craft gin craze had ever begun. 2010 marked the sale of the Anchor company to the Griffin Group, who in turn decided to offload all brewing related businesses, along with the Anchor name and facility, to the Japanese mega company Sapporo in 2018. The company was then renamed Hotaling & Co., and shortly after that an onslaught of barrels hit the local San Francisco markets. This time the barrels were in the 4-5 year age range, nearly twice the age of the typical Old Potrero expressions on the market.
The color of this whiskey is impressively dark for its age. Immediately upon pouring it into the glass you can smell aromas of freshly baked rye bread. Brown sugar, cacao nibs, dark chocolate, marshmallow and charred oak dominate the nose. Unlike any of the typical Kentucky ryes on the market, the 100% rye mashbill really sets the tone for flavors. The palate is just as intense as the nose, but very balanced for the proof, with a finish that lasts for days.