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Writers Rye Chapter 2.2 Review - Robert Simonson's Single Barrel Selection from New York Distilling Company

This release follows the same story as the Chapter 2.1 edition of Writers Rye, which I previously wrote extensively about. This particular single barrel was the one that Robert Simonson preferred and selected to bear his name alongside a favorite quote from The Great Gatsby:

The bar is in full swing and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside until the air is alive with chatter and laughter and casual innuendo and introductions forgotten on the spot and enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other's names. The lights grow brighter as the earth lurches away from the sun and now the orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music and the opera of voices pitches a key higher. Laughter is easier, minute by minute, spilled with prodigality, tipped out at a cheerful word. The groups change more swiftly, swell with new arrivals, dissolve and form in the same breath—already there are wanderers, confident girls who weave here and there among the stouter and more stable, become for a sharp, joyous moment the center of a group and then excited with triumph glide on through the sea-change of faces and voices and color under the constantly changing light.

If you're interested in the history of New York Distilling Company, jump over to my previous write up of Goldfarb's barrel. Once you've studied up there, let's see what this craft rye is all about!


Company on Label: New York Distilling Company

Whiskey Type: New York Rye Whiskey

Mash Bill Percentages: 72% Pedersen Field Race rye from Seneca Falls, 16% corn, 12% malted barley

Proof: 112°

Age: 8 years (& 6 months)

Further identification: This is barrel #344 which was distilled & filled 10/17/2014 and bottled 4/21/2023, ultimately yielding 186 bottles; it is available now at an MSRP of $69.99


Nose: Ooooh - silky, creamy tones abound on raising this glass to my nose, like a sugar cookie with a buttercream frosting adorning the soft sweetness vessel. Deep inhales on my left nostril reveal subtle oak, soft raspberry tart, and confectioners sugar. My right nostril discovers delicate florality; I find myself in heather in early Spring, the air still crisp and the flowers just starting to selectively bloom. Digging further, I find hints of sunscreen are an oddity, but not unpleasant. Lavender culminates in coalescing both nostrils again. As the glass warms, rich caramel tones build upon what has thusly been an intoxicating trance of delicate whiskey beauty. Let's sip.

Returning my nose to the glass, I find some old leather tones and dusty concrete, reminiscent of exploring an old mill building. Further study offers sweet buttered ciabatta bread, candied walnuts, and white pepper. Hints of mint give this exceptional depth and cohesiveness. I'm amazed by the perfect balance this rye has without sacrificing flavor volume. Overall, this is a bright and bubbly whiskey that inspires one to look ahead to the possibilities of new & exciting opportunities. The empty glass smells of smoky apple dump cobbler in a dutch oven and sweet strawberry cereal.

Palate: My first sip is a lovely introduction of maraschino cherry, mulled wine, cardamom, and clove. These wonderful layers land gracefully on the tongue with no hints of heat or inadequacies, a testament to this distillate being aged to perfection. Another sip adds in earthy tones of verdant soil and patchouli. Exploring further, traces of pomegranate juice start to flourish. I find a distinct old paper smell coming up through my nose from the vapor that expands from my recent sip, like a whisper from a page you have yet to read. Sipping late into the glass reveals more cherry, now turning towards the skins, before delicate wood spice rolls over the tongue in little prickles of black pepper and allspice. The finish is long and rolling with traces of honey, kumquat, crème brûlée, and persimmon. At my sorrowful arrival at the end of the glass, I find a delicate chapeau of unique barrel funk I can only attribute to this specific mash bill interacting with the wood in a way that the local terroir in New York can exclusively deliver.

TL;DR: This is delicate, balanced, nuanced, and flavorful whiskey that is thoroughly satisfying


Rating: 4.5/5

I always take note and give stock to any whiskey reviewer who tastes something and goes out and buys their own bottle. If you too value that kind of thing, know that is exactly the origin story of this bottle. I first tried a sample of it thanks to @gigglesnsips and shortly after the liquid first hit my lips, I went out and made sure I secured the bag before I let the good word out. Call me selfish if you need.

I later compared this bottle against some other heavy hitters from this same 4.5 score (the first to be written in this way since the changes effective March 2nd, 2024 in my editorial policy) and I ended up coming to some interesting conclusions. The 2023 release of Michter's 10 Year Rye and Parker's Heritage Collection 10 Year Rye were both rye whiskeys that fell into this company... In an effort to give a little extra color to this review, I'll share the comparisons I made in a quick 3 glass flight below.

Nose ranking:

1: Michter's 10 Year Rye

2: Writers Rye 3: Parker's 10 Year Rye

Palate ranking:

1: Michter's 10 Year Rye

Tie 2: Writers Rye // Parker's 10 Year Rye

Note that the Parker's Rye is a barely legal rye at 51% and I think that ultimately makes it feel like a different class of spirit altogether, which made it hard to compare. The Michter's offered such ephemeral beauty with creamy, vintage tones intently perfected with time. The Writers Rye is so punchy yet balanced and wonderfully unique. Parker's Rye is just a different animal; it throws out the strangest Thanksgiving vibes, and I'm totally here for it, but it definitely is in stark contrast to these other two glasses. This was an eye-opening and deeply satisfying set of whiskeys to sip through together. I hope this article helps you in some way, my dear reader. Until next time!



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