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.
Last edited by gillmang
on Mon Jun 22, 2009 9:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.