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Old Potrero "Barrel 23" Single Malt Rye Whiskey

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This San-Francisco-as-can-be distiller is for many locals synonymous with the city itself. Anchor was founded in the Gold Rush era, survived Prohibition, financial storms, and multiple fires, all while adapting to the city’s ever-changing populace and geography. Their story of constant change mirrors the city itself: most recently the sale of Anchor separated the brewery from the distillery (now operating under the Hotaling & Co umbrella), and the new marketing team is getting ready to zhuzh the brand with an updated bottle and label. With the window closing on private barrels bottled in the iconic squat bottles, we knew this was the time to select some choice barrels from the Potrero Hill-distilled stock.

Inspired by Scotch production, Old Potrero Straight Rye Whiskey is a 100% Single Malt Rye - a mash bill that’s still uncommon today, and was virtually unheard of when it was launched in 1993. We love malted rye for its chewy, chocolatey, and sweeter profile, more chocolate malt balls than the spicy and lean rye bread that the more common ummalted rye whiskey is compared to. And while few have followed that particular path, the growing thirst for complex, deep and assertive ryes owes much to Old Potrero’s success. We toast these pioneers with two delightful whiskeys (Barrels 22 & 23), both aged 6 years and 3 months, in #3 char barrels in Napa Valley, and bottled at cask strength.

Barrel #23 bears clear testament to Old Potrero’s scotch influences. Lighter, and also more layered. The nose is a melange of waffles, weathered wood, walnut shells, subtle herbs, and mint. On the palate, sweet tea pairs beautifully with berry cobbler and walnuts. Stroopwaffle and baklava notes are sprinkled throughout. The herbal aromas return in the shape of light root beer and mingle with the rye grain. With a few drops of water, a profile that reminds us of a Highlands honey-rich scotch comes into sharper relief. The finish is woody and honeyed, lingering on a burnt caramel note.