View Full Version : George Washington's Gristmill opening July 1!

06-27-2010, 12:17
This is my first post to the forums!

I didn't see any reference to this anywhere else, but I just thought that I should let anyone who doesn't know that they're going to be selling the first bottles of Rye made out of the reconstructed Washington Gristmill/Distillery on July 1 at 12:00 noon. They're having a free tasting. I know I'm going. A perfect extended lunch trip away from the office.


I'm not expecting the Van Winkle 13 year quality (I think it's only going to be maybe 3 years old?), but it should be a lot of fun to check out and taste what they have wrought!

FAIR WARNING: you may have to listen to a guy wearing knickers and a powdered wig if you show up... :rolleyes:

Dramiel McHinson
06-27-2010, 13:55
What a nice celebration of history. Even if the whiskey isn't a world beater, it will be bragging rights for the next 30 years to say you were there on that first day when George's whiskey came back.

06-27-2010, 19:44
I first heard of this on Mark Gillespie's podcast. He said it's 4 y.o. IIRC, but it's hard to believe it's been that long already.

Let us know what it was like (the rye, not the powdered wig re-enactments).

06-28-2010, 05:31
John Hansell has a post about this on his blog this morning as well.


85 George Washingtons will get you 375ml.

06-28-2010, 05:44
John Hansell has a posted about this on his blog this morning as well.


85 George Washingtons will get you 375ml.

I cannot tell a lie, that's really expensive.

06-28-2010, 10:53
Sounds and looks like this is rye white dog.

06-28-2010, 11:56
Sounds and looks like this is rye white dog.

From the WhiskyCast story, it sounded like they distilled the stuff a few years ago.

06-28-2010, 13:01
Alittle more reading and listening on the subject.

DISCUSS website on the GW distillery - http://www.discus.org/heritage/washington.asp

WhiskeyCast podcast - http://www.whiskycast.com/files/WhiskyCast_20100627.mp3

06-29-2010, 08:39
I've been emailing with a guy who works there / runs the distillery operation.

What they are selling next week is white dog. Very cool of course, but way too expensive to be anything other than a collectable.

They are aging some of it as well which will be sold down the road.

06-29-2010, 12:30
When the whole restoration project began, Vendome made a small pot still for them (picture below). They made rye in it the first year and subsequently made rum too (that's what they're doing in the picture). They only got about 20 gallons of the rye, which they did barrel. I'm not sure what happened to that. I tasted some when it was about a year old.

This is apparently spirit made in the restored distillery. It must have a touch of age, in new charred oak, or they couldn't call it rye whiskey. Not much, though, as the press release says it was made in 2009.

06-29-2010, 15:02
I can't imagine that this would be white dog, since they did their first distilling a couple of years ago. If it were white dog they would have sold it then... I'll be willing to bet this is going to taste somewhat like the Hudson Rye I had a while back. It too was young and unapologetically grassy. I'll bring back pictures...

07-01-2010, 17:44
So I went to this thing today and checked it out.

They actually were selling two whiskeys. A white dog rye in a 375ml bottle and a (someone said) 5 year "vatted" rye in airplane bottles. From what I heard (the gift shop was jam packed) the 375 was $85 and the airplane bottles of the aged stuff were $16. You needed a special ticket to buy some of it, and I didn't have one, so I had to walk away empty handed, but I got to taste both whiskeys and tour around and take some pics and talk to a dude in a tri-corner hat who for once wasn't railing on about Obama. ;-)

The white dog was what you'd expect. Rather harsh, very grassy, etc. Definitely a bottle to go up in the collection. A feast only for the eyes... I'm not super sophisticated in my palate so I can't tell you too much more than that, especially when sampling out of the little plastic shot glasses.

The aged stuff was much better, of course. Again, lots of grassy notes as you'd expect with a rye, very dry of course, with some caramel flavors as well. Like I expected, somewhat like the Hudson rye if you've had that, but mellower, sweeter taste with more caramel. Again -- I'm sure it would all taste different out of proper glassware!

07-02-2010, 05:40
The tickets were handed out first-come first-serve, and guaranteed you a place in line for a tasting and a bottle purchase, but their credit card processor went down yesterday so the line moved like molasses. Even with a one bottle limit, I don't think they were clearing 60 customers per hour. In any case, the entire run sold out within a few hours, except for the bottles that had been pre-ordered but not yet picked up.

The aged stuff on hand was the whiskey (all(?) Kentucky distillate) that had been vatted for the rededication a few years back; they've been selling that as a gift pack for a while now.

The white whiskey was the new release, distilled onsite under the supervision of master distiller Dave Pickerell in spring 2009; he was on hand for the unveiling and for media interviews.

About 96 gallons were obtained, and half put up for aging. The rest went into 400 375mL bottles at 86 proof, for release yesterday.

As previously reported, the grain bill was 60% rye, 35% corn, and 5% malted barley. Pickerell said that the entire process was performed in period fashion with period-style tools, except for one modern plastic bucket.

07-02-2010, 12:06
The stuff in the airplane bottles is the American blended whiskey I helped make. When the whole Mount Vernon project started, each DISCUS member donated a full barrel of their whiskey. It was then left to age a little more at Mount Vernon. The original bottling they did was special bottles of each brand, which were auctioned or otherwise sold at ridiculous prices to benefit the restoration project. After that they still had a lot of it left and some of the whiskey was getting pretty old, so they came up with this idea to mix it all together. I was on hand for that. The plan was to empty all of the barrels into a big plastic tub, mix them together, then put them back in barrels for another six months. As you can imagine, getting whiskey out of a barrel is pretty easy but getting it back in is not. Joe Dangler, from A. Smith Bowman, brought a small lab pump, which was extremely slow and completely inadequate. Because we all had planes to catch we started to improvise. My innovation was cutting some plastic water bottles into scoops and funnels. We were all dipping and dumping as fast as we could (including a female DISCUS lawyer wearing a Chanel suit...what a sport!) and were in the tub up to our elbows, so I'm sure there is a little bit of me in every bottle of the stuff.

I managed to clean up a little bit at the airport but I'm sure we all smelled like Bette Jo did the time a coupling from the dump tank to the bottling line at Heaven Hill came loose.

A picture from earlier in that memorable day is attached.

07-02-2010, 14:17
I asked Dave Pickerell about the rye. He says they did pour it into a new, charred oak barrel, then right back out in order to meet the standard for "rye whiskey."

07-02-2010, 14:21
in order to meet the standard for "rye whiskey."

This a new one for me.
What is, "the standard for "rye whiskey" "?

07-02-2010, 16:18
You're not new to title 27, chapter five, section 22 (b)(1)(i) Oscar. Rye whiskey has to be aged in new, charred oak barrels, but the rule doesn't say for how long. Therefore, you can sell an unaged rye spirit as rye whiskey if you place it in a new, charred oak barrel for even 30 seconds. As Pickerell said, "when you sell it for $85 a pint, you can afford to do that."

07-02-2010, 20:14
Well then, I guess that answers the question of why these ryes are NAS.