Hochstadter's is a product from the Cooper Spirits Company who have been putting out sourced ryes in a variety of different forms. Today we have their latest high end offering which is a cask strength, 16 year old, 100% rye that was distilled in Canada. 100% rye from Canada almost always means Alberta Distillers which is where a few other popular ryes such as WhistlePig are sourced. I was initially skeptical about this for a couple of reasons, mostly the high price but also because the Lock Stock & Barrel rye which is also from Cooper Spirits has less than favorable reviews. I really like aged rye and Alberta rye, especially at cask strength so I was willing to give it a chance.
Aged 16 years; 61.9% ABV; $200
Nose: Spicy and very warm. Spearmint, menthol, wintergreen, sugary bubblegum. Definitely smells like a well aged, cask strength, super high rye whiskey.
Taste: Lots of sweet charred oak sugars with a big spice blast in the finish. The range of spices is all over the place, everything from dill to wintergreen to spearmint to baking spices. The age is certainly evident as its got a wide range of oak and the sweet notes that imparts. The high proof comes through very heavy handed as all the spice, sweet, and oak notes are very bold. Overall, it's a sweet woody spice party.
Thoughts: Not only is this an exceptionally good whiskey, it's also a great rye whiskey. In fact, I think this is better than last year's Booker's Rye which was a really good whiskey but not a great rye. This is coming from someone who likes spicy wood bombs though so take that for what it is worth. The real question here is, is this worth the retail cost? If you are asking that question, then the answer is probably no. My advice is to split a bottle with some friends and try it for yourself. I did that and felt it was good enough to splurge on a bottle for myself. It may not be the best value out there but cask strength hyper aged ryes aren't getting more plentiful or cheaper as the years go by. So yeah, the pricing isn't great. Yet two months after release here there are still some of these sitting on the shelves. I can waltz right down to a number of locals and buy as many of these as I want. No hassle, no chase, no calling in any favors that count towards the limited number I am comfortable with asking for these days. To me, this is like buying a car at Carmax. Yeah, you pay a lot more but you don't have to deal with all the fucking bullshit drama leading up to getting the car at a better price.
Rating: B+ / A-
Note that price is not considered when assigning a rating.