View Full Version : How many types of Old Potrero?

08-23-2001, 22:56
Recently, while on a trip to San Francisco, I was able to sample some (a 50ml bottle) Old Potrero Straight Rye Whiskey. There was a dollop of vanilla/molasses on the nose and a ton of spiciness on the palette (as one would expect of 100% rye) and, in my appraisal, a suprising level of sweetness (for a rye).

A few years back I was on a trip to D.C. and decided to visit a college buddy whose family owned a farmhouse in southern Maryland. He invited me to sample some whiskey that he estimated to be between 100-150 years old. The bottle looked like an old decanter but if there was any label it had long since worn off. It was powerful stuff and I was instantly reminded of it when I tasted the Old Potrero. So, in my opinion, Mr. Maytag has hit the nail on the head in trying to recreate American whiskeys of the 18th & 19th century.

Before leaving San Francisco I picked up a fifth of Old Potrero, this time called "Single Malt Spirit." I picked this one mainly because it states on the label "For Sale in California Only". I have yet to taste this "spirit".

While at my local liquor store tonight I noticed yet another iteration of Old Potrero called "Single Malt Whiskey".

So, the three Old Potreros I've noticed so far are:

1. Single Malt Straight Rye Whiskey - Aged in new charred oak barrels for three years (125.2 proof)
2. Single Malt Spirit - A distilled spirit produced from rye malt mash, aged two years in new and used uncharred oak barrels (124.2 proof) (actually it was aged for 2 yrs, 7 months, 15 days according to the data on the back of the bottle)
3. Single Malt Whiskey - Aged in new uncharred (toasted) oak barrels for two years. (125.2 or 126.2 proof - can't remember which) (and by the data on the back it was aged just barely over 2 years.)

So has anyone noticed any other versions?....or tasted all three and can post the difference in flavor profiles?


08-24-2001, 07:15
Oops! I should've posted this in the Rye section...sorry.

08-24-2001, 07:31
I wouldn't worry too much about that J.R. (we've got a lot of Johns here). I've never tasted the stuff, but Chuck Cowdery has. He knows Fritz Maytag (the guy that distills Old Potrero). He's probably working hard right now meeting some deadline or another. Check out alcoholreviews.com and see if Chuck's article on Fritz is still up.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

08-24-2001, 07:51

I sampled the Old Potrero rye from "toasted" barrels last year at the New York Whiskyfest. I don't recall the straight rye, which would probably have a more familiar flavor profile. The "Washington era" rye had an odd, raw taste, fruity and estery as I recall - it reminded me of the unaged "rhum agricoles" that are bottled in Martinique and other islands. It made me want to hug a charred barrel just in gratitude for its effect on my whiskey. I haven't tried the single malt you mentioned, and I don't recall whether that's a Scotch-type barley whisky experiment. I also tasted another Maytag experiment - a "jenever" or gin-type clear spirit. Again, more raw alcohol for me than recognizable gin character.

Ralph Wilps

08-24-2001, 08:26
Damn, I was just in San Francisco a few days ago and I did not think of it.

Oh well. Another missed opportunity


08-24-2001, 08:29
>>I wouldn't worry too much about that J.R. (we've got a lot of Johns here).

Oh yeah? Fortunately for John, he discovered the error of his ways and voluntarily repented before I had to slap the crap out of 'im ;-)

Had another snort of my dwindling bottle of Weller 19 last night Linn ... man, that's good stuff!


Jim Butler

08-24-2001, 09:22
Contrary to Linn's posting, I don't know Fritz Maytag, but I did attend his presentation at Chicago Whiskeyfest in March. At that event, he talked about (and we tasted) Old Potrero Single Malt Whiskey, which is malted rye aged in "toasted" barrels for about 18 months (although the label says one year), and Old Potrero Straight Rye Whiskey, which is the same spirit aged three years in charred barrels. The only other product he mentioned is a gin, called Juniprero. I don't know anything about the "Single Malt Spirit" product, but it doesn't sound significantly different from the Single Malt Whiskey product. It may actually have been an earlier iteration of that or some other product that this store still happened to have on the shelf.

<A target="_blank" HREF=http://cowdery.home.netcom.com>--Chuck Cowdery</A>

08-24-2001, 15:50
Here's some idle speculation:

A lot of the original Old Portero went to restaraunts/bars, and was not for sale to
the general public.

Also, california has liquor regulations that are a little different than the rest
of the country. Fritz Maytag tells a nice story about hiring a lawyer-type to
research federal liquor regulations. An Old Portero product was produced
and marketed following federal regulations, but neither Maytag nor the
lawyer-type even thought to look for California regulations... and it came
back and bit them. There are some labeling laws of some sort that are
more strict than federal regulations.

My guess is this:
The bottle was probably produced for sale to california restaraunts and bars.
It's definitely a single malt, and calling it a "spirit" means that they aren't
claiming that it's (1) whiskey, (2) straight whiskey, (3) rye whiskey, or
(4) straight rye whiskey.

None of the Old Portero marketing stuff gives "single malt spirit" any mention.
(I've got a few pamphlets and short videotape).

08-24-2001, 17:13
I saw a few bottles of the Juniprero in SF as well, but not being a gin fan I wasn't interested in picking up a bottle no matter how novel it is.

The main difference I noticed between the 2 "toasted" oak versions of Old Potrero is that the California Only Single Malt "Spirit" spent approximately 2 1/2 years in new AND used toasted oak barrels and the Single Malt "Whiskey" spent right at 2 years in ONLY new toasted oak barrels.

For what it's worth the details of my bottle are:
Essay 7-RW-ARM-6
In Barrel Date: 12/31/97
Bottling Date: 07/14/00
No. of Bottles: 3,448
Bottle No.: 66

The little booklet attached to the bottle says to write to Anchor Distilling for more information...I may do just that.

Now, to give this post a little credence in the General Bourbon section.....

Today I purchased a bottle of Evan Williams Single Barrel '91, thanks to the many glowing remarks it has received here (as well as the Malt Advocate award). I made a special trip to Bowling Green, KY because one particular store has a fantastic bourbon selection and I needed to purchase the winning ticket for tomorrow's $280million SuperLotto. :)

The '91 now sits proudly next to my '89 EWSB (which has orange wax instead of the standard black for the '98 TN Vols Championship team).

BTW, that liquor store had a phenomenal price on Jack Daniel's Single Barrel. Normally it is priced around $40 but they have it for $26. I'm not a fan of black label Jack Daniels but I think their Single Barrel is pretty darn good. I won't shamelessly plug them here but if any of you are close to Bowling Green and interested, email me and I'll let you know who and where they are.


08-25-2001, 05:29
Pardon me Chuck. After reading your article I wrongly infered that you were an aquaintance of Fritz Maytag's. I like your easy-breasy prose and read more into it than what was really there.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

08-25-2001, 05:33
Oh Yeah?! What are you -- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Administrator? Oh! That's right you're the King of Bourbonia. So Sorry. My Bad.

Linn Spencer

Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

10-14-2001, 20:12
I have the same Straight Rye you mention, but a different single malt spirit. It is 61.75v aged one year (23 months) in new uncharred oak. Both are a major departure from current American Rye norms. I prefer the Straight Rye.

10-02-2002, 10:27
</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
Oh Yeah?! What are you -- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Administrator?


I know this is pointless but I had tp say that this is one of you best oneliner's, Linn!! BRAVO LMAO!!!

Tom (BLEEE!!!) C