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Thread: Oldest rye

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2000

    Oldest rye

    I've found what must be the longest aged rye whiskey around. A bottle of Very Ancient Pure Rye Whisky. Here's what the label reads on this beautiful old pint:

    This medicinal whisky is hereby guaranteed by the distiller and S.S. Pierce Co. to be pure Maryland Rye. 25 Years in Wood.

    Bottled from Barrel serial No. 164752, Manufactured in Year 1902. 100 proof.
    The Hannis Distilling Co., The American Medicinal Spirits Co., Successor.

    In back, there's a small label that reads as follows:

    Warning: This bottle has been filled by the S. S. Pierce Co. under provisions of the National Prohibition Act. Contents for medicinal purposes only.

    This bottle could be purchased only from a 'Retail Druggist' on a duly authorized physicians prescription. If purchased otherwise, both seller and purchaser were subject to prosecution for violation of the Prohibition laws. S.S. Pierce Co. Boston, Mass.

    If there's a rye whiskey out there aged longer than 25 years, please let us know.


  2. #2

    Re: Oldest rye

    Man oh man Omar! You've really got yourself a little gem there! I don't know of anything older. The fact that it's a single barrel bottling is what intrigues me. Are you going to taste it or just put it up on your shelf?

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  3. #3
    Advanced Taster
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Pittsburgh, PA

    Re: Oldest rye

    A gem indeed! The Maryland distillery site is particularly intriguing, also - anyone know any of the history of Maryland rye distilling? My vote is for you tasting it and then giving us a detailed tasting note, Omar - that way we'll all be happy!

    Ralph Wilps

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999

    Re: Oldest rye

    I particularly find it interesting that "single barrel" goes back to the Prohibition era.

    And I continue to be amazed that there is so much Prohibition-era "medicinal" whiskey still around. Considering that whiskey was hard to obtain, I'm surprised how much of it was saved and not consumed. I guess when something is rare, people tend to hoard it. When it's available, they consume it because they know they can get more. That's why pre-Prohibition whiskey is so much more rare than Prohibition whiskey.

    As for history, rye was the principal grain distilled in the eastern states. George Washington's distillery, for example, primarily made rye whiskey. In the New England states, rum and brandy were more common than whiskey. Wherever rye was farmed, it was distilled. In time, Maryland and Pennsylvania became the primary rye whiskey producers and the venerable old brands have their roots in those states. Calvert is an old Maryland brand name that is still around.

    Corn only became prominent after settlement in Kentucky began. During Prohibition, rye was still the most popular type of whiskey, so most counterfeit whiskey makers claimed their product was rye. After years of bad, fake "rye," that type of whiskey got a bad reputation. After Prohibition, bourbon became more popular and rye never recovered its former prominence. Maryland went out of the whiskey business first, followed by Pennsylvania.

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

  5. #5

    Re: Oldest rye


    I think we should all meet in Baltimore, and have a taste on Omar!The HELL with Malt Advocate's WhiskeyFest! Let's have an OMAR Fest! I can be there in less than six hours. What do ya say? YES?!

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Hannover, Germany

    Re: Oldest rye

    Dr. Omar,

    actually, if I think about it, I don't feel very well - could you, erh, please...



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