Question about Old Overholt Rye Whiskey...

(Jimmy ) #1

Found it for $10.99 a fifth. Reviews say it’s a “bit harsh” but very drinkable neat or over rocks. Also said to be Doc Halliday’s preferred drink. Worth the Buy? Any personal knowledge of this spirit?



It’s ok, but not great for drinking neat/rocks; but makes a decent Manhattan or Old Fashioned. That price for the 80 proof is good, sometimes it runs that low in my area, although usually more in the $15-17 range. Currently it’s a high corn, rye mash bill, which detracts from what it could be, and what it was back in the 60-70’s and earlier when it was a high rye, rye mash bill. And the 80 proof is supposedly 3 years old, but I think it tastes more like two years. the 100 proof is supposedly four years old.

I’ve had bottles from 1910 and 1905, and they were pretty good. And bottles from the 70’s were ok, but I think anything the last 20 years has been mediocre.

I’d say it’s not really worth it. It makes no sense to have a high corn rye. If you drink rye, you want the spiciness of a high rye mash bill. There are some great rye’s on the market in the $20-30 range that I would take any day over a cheap Old Overholt. Redemption rye, Rittenhouse rye, Knob Creek rye if you get it on sale for around $26, instead of the typical $34 is a great buy, there are plenty more that get pricey. Don’t get the Crown Royal rye, lousy. And I don’t like Templeton because of their lies that they make it, they buy in bulk from elsewhere.

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(Jimmy ) #3

Terrific insights. Thank you for your reply!


(Johanna Grosse) #4

I would agree it’s not ideal for consuming straight. I’ve often used it for mixing though, as I don’t want to use a rye that’s too expensive for that.

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In a cocktail, the better the ingredients, the better the cocktail. And for a bar, price point doesn’t usually matter until you hit the $35+ a bottle range. I will take a cocktail made with a good quality rye like Redemption or Rittenhouse any day over one with Old Overholt. But, there are times when you want a rough spirit to balance out a drink that may be too soft.

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I bought a bottle once for Manhattans and didn’t love it. I agree with mq7070’s assessments entirely, and keep Redemption Rye (or their high rye bourbon, which DH likes for drinking straight) in my liquor cabinet for Manhattans now.

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I haven’t tried it myself, but this is what the Death & Co. book says about it:

And a recipe for a classic Ward 8 cocktail from the book that uses it (non-chamomile-infused):



One thing to consider is that D&C makes extremely complex cocktails, and a spirit tastes very different like that, than when tasted straight. Strong, rough spirits actually can work better in cocktails like that, than soft spirits do.



And when the order is for a Sazerac, we expect the cocktail to be made with Sazerac and Peychaud!



Why would you expect Sazerac in a Sazerac cocktail. I assume you mean Sazerac Cognac, which was originally associated with the cocktail. Sazerac rye whiskey is a relative newcomer to the spirits industry. Originally the base spirit for a Sazerac cocktail was Cognac, before rye whiskey became the preferred, then norm, base spirit.

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Now that it is on the market that’s right.

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Why? Because you buy into marketing?