A Rock 'n Rye "Vertical" Tasting

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A Rock 'n Rye "Vertical" Tasting

Unread postby gillmang » Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:48 pm

Jaquin's makes a line of liqueurs including good old rock and rye, a compound almost forgotten in the annals of American drink. This is a pity since it is a good drink, of some complexity - it qualifies as a "Gothic" taste of which our forbears were fond but which finds rather less favour in an age devoted to soft drinks and vodka. (Thanks to Michael Jackson's 1988 World Guide to Whisky for the striking metaphor (i.e., of Gothic) which he used in relation to straight whiskey).

Some years ago I bought a bottle of Jaquin's rock and rye in Rhode Island. This weekend, some visiting U.S. relations brought me another bottle. My first one was half-full but well-sealed and not broached for some years. I determined to taste the two in a kind of vertical flight (it isn't really).

The current one is pinkish with an exotic scent and taste of Turkish delight. I think I get the taste of some young spirit in there, some young rye whiskey probably, overlaid with citrus fruits, sugar and maybe cinnamon.

The older one is pinkish too but less so, more yellow withal. It seems strongly informed by the taste and smell of lemon although other things are happening there. The two are are similar but not identical. Of course, the older one has been half-full for some years. This may have softened it down plus the whole fruits macerating in the drink would have had more time to lend their flavours.

Both are very good - and quite different from the surviving other brands out there. Leroux has one and I think there is a Walker brand still made as well. The latter two seem more peach- or apricot-oriented.

The Jacquin's has (also) a taste something like a new red apple.

If I had to guess, I'd say the whiskey base in the older one is older than in the current one, but I can't be sure.

I like them (any of the brands mentioned) blended 50/50 with straight rye or bourbon and lots of ice. But just a little rock and rye is nice on its own, as an after-dinner drink. These old American drinks are very good really and today there is Sambucca and Grand Marnier and countless other fine drinks to have after coffee, but in my view the indigenous American liqueurs - especially one as venerable as rock and rye, which goes back to the 1800's - are as good and offer a taste of American bibulous history to boot.

Gary
Last edited by gillmang on Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Rock 'n Rye "Vertical" Tasting

Unread postby Bourbon Joe » Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:57 pm

Nice treatice Gary. It has been a VERY long time since I had any rock & Rye. I think it's time to change that.
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Re: A Rock 'n Rye "Vertical" Tasting

Unread postby gillmang » Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:08 pm

Check them out, Joe (any brand) - a fine old drink and taste of history. As a bonus, rock and rye is inexpensive.

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Re: A Rock 'n Rye "Vertical" Tasting

Unread postby TBoner » Mon Jun 29, 2009 4:02 pm

Thanks for this write-up, Gary. I have seen Leroux a couple of places I think, but not the others. Never seen the Jaquin line at all, in fact. I suppose I can give the Leroux a whirl, though in general their products don't impress me. Rock & Rye seems like something that would be right up my alley.

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Re: A Rock 'n Rye "Vertical" Tasting

Unread postby mozilla » Mon Jun 29, 2009 4:39 pm

I believe that Hiram Walker also has a Rock and Rye in the Texas market. So, look for that one as well.
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Re: A Rock 'n Rye "Vertical" Tasting

Unread postby TBoner » Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:10 pm

For whatever reason, Dallas gets no interesting liqueurs or cordials. I had to special order Marie Brizard cassis, for instance, when it's readily available elsewhere. Punt e Mes, a bittered sweet vermouth, can be found in Houston, but no Dallas store would get any in. So, I'll look for the Hiram Walker and the others. But I'm not optimistic.

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Re: A Rock 'n Rye "Vertical" Tasting

Unread postby mozilla » Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:16 pm

The distributers in the Dallas area should be able to direct you to the stores that have most recently purchased certain items. Give their customer service agents a call and make an inquirery...it only takes a minute for them to look stuff up.
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