- DISTILLER: Produced by New York Distilling Co. and distilled by Black Dirt Distillery.
- MASH BILL: 72% Rye | 16% Corn | 12% Malted Barley
- AGE: 3 Years
- YEAR: 2022
- PROOF: 90.4 (45.2% ABV)
- MSRP: $40
SHARE WITH: A New Yorker curious about what local whiskey tastes like in its youth.
WORTH THE PRICE: Not really, it should either be $15-$20 less or aged another year or two.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Bust, despite having a promising nose the palate exposes its youth and needs a bit more development.
OVERALL: Before I ever tried a single expression from New York Distilling Company, I was enamored with their bottle design and enchanted by the collective experience of their founders. Allen Katz and Bill and Tom Potter are well established in the New York food and beverage community, which has resulted in plenty of positive press. Their savvy decision to build an adjoining bar next to their distilling operation has been yet another boon for the local community and afforded them a profitable space to grow out of as they're not yet able to host distillery tours.
The above should afford the founding members some gravitas and indicate that they certainly know what they're doing. Tom Potter, in particular, has a wealth of experience having previously founded Brooklyn Brewery and subsequently retired from the company in 2008. That said, they made another wise decision in turning to the more established Black Dirt distillery as the source of their base rye expression while they're hard at work distilling and aging their own whiskey right in Brooklyn.
Unfortunately, despite embracing a unique New York style and an enticing nose full of honey, fresh bagels, white peach tea, and aloe, it's on the palate where things go awry for Ragtime Rye. With a flavor profile that's surprisingly darker than the nose indicates (a positive) it also features a thin mouthfeel and slightly bitter finish that keeps the taste from reaching the heights of the aroma. If this were priced slightly lower, I'd give it a "Bar" rating as an indication of what youthful New York rye does to distinguish itself from the Kentucky style. However, at $40, even among youthful craft options you'd do well to look elsewhere.
At the dawn of a new century, before the turbulence of Prohibition, the stalwarts of saloons and brothels alike were Ragtime and Rye. The syncopated rhythms of a uniquely American music were punctuated by well-built melody and shades of harmony; to ask for a whiskey cocktail meant a hearty Rye in hand – bold, slightly spicy and full of warm flavor. From Lincoln to the Dust Bowl, the wrath of battle to the backyard barbecue, Rye Whiskey has waxed and waned like amber waves of grain, its popularity, only recently, reclaimed as a resolute American spirit.
Distilled from rye proudly grown in New York State, this uncompromising whiskey is aged exclusively in full-size barrels to ensure robust flavor and nuanced finish. If the destiny of nations depends on cultural nourishment then ours may rest, in fulfillment, with Ragtime and Rye.