Although increasing in popularity these past few years, rye whiskey is not known for its long aging periods. Since liquor from a higher rye mashbill develops its complexities in the barrel faster than that with a higher corn content, distilleries often focus on the properties of the whiskey over its maturity. It’s common to find ryes that age for around 24 months, while bottled-in-bond keeps in the cask for the requisite 4 years. On the higher end, you’ll have WhistlePig and Colonel E.H. Taylor ryes which are aged for 10 years.
And then there’s Lock Stock & Barrel, a subsidiary of Cooper Spirits that’s known for its unconventionally long aging periods. From 13 years all the way to two decades, the distillery’s stock is easily the oldest current offerings you’ll find on the shelves. However, its newest Straight Rye Whiskey takes the cake, aged for an unprecedented 21 years in new charred American oak barrels that were first filled back in 1999, making it the oldest rye currently available on the market. The whiskey was matured in a cold-weather environment and eventually bottled at a fiery 111 proof in this black opaque decanter so it can be protected from light exposure.
Made from a mashbill of 100% rye grain, this latest release spent its early days double distilled in copper pots, where the batch’s most robust moonshine was then selected by Cooper’s master distillers. The end result is an intense profile that includes molasses, cinnamon, caramel, coconut, cocoa, and anise on the palate, finishing with notes of leather, oak, and the signature spice brought on by the extremely high rye content.
Only 1,200 cases of the Lock Stock & Barrel 21-Year Straight Rye Whiskey will be made available. Get yourself a bottle now from select retailers for $500.