I don't have a car, so I make infrequent pilgrimages to Binny's in Skokie (the closest location to my house) now and then when I can hitch a ride with a family member. Friday was just such a trip.
What spurred this voyage? A particularly tasty bourbon I had last weekend struck my fancy, and I intended to go get some. On the way I wanted to augment my meager Scotch collection, plus put in for a bottle of Irish and of Rye, since I was out of both of those.
My rye of choice, about which I make no secret, is Ritt BIB. To my astonishment, Binny's was completely out of this nectar. So I scanned the shelves for a replacement...and my eyes fell upon the 19th-century-packaged Sazerac Rye - 90 proof, presumably the 6-7YO expression. Grabbed it, took it home, sampled it.
I've not had Overholt, only Ritt, JB Rye, and WT Rye, so I was expecting something weighty, oily, muscular, and (as is the case with Ritt and WT) mildly honeyed. What I got instead is a rye that is eerily reminiscent of Irish pot-still whiskey: light, floral, somewhat cool and brittle, with a bit of a mint finish and a surprisingly heady note of cinnamon that also makes it into the aroma. It also has some woody and fruity notes.
It's not at all the same as Ritt, but I'm quite taken with it nonetheless. I'd love to be able to taste some vintage genuine Pennsylvania Monongehela to see if that style was similar to this, since this seems to reflect the flavor that people describe with Old Overholt.
(I have never tried OO; part of me is scared to because I have a feeling that the JB version doesn't capture the way OO tasted when it was distilled at Broad Ford. Then again, I remind myself that even that version would not be recognizable to Abe Overholt, who likely as not in those days of unaged spirits was selling something more closely resembling vodka...)