Old Overholt Straight Rye

"A classical low strength rye that is very much acceptable without expecting too much complexity"

(Photo from Whiskybase)

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Old Overholt has been around for many decades and for some time was the only rye on the shelves. Originally from Pennsylvania, home of many rye whiskies in the 19th  and beginning of the 20th century, it is currently produced by Jim Beam in Kentucky (read more about the history in this article). Nowadays is is advertised as an agreeable drink that is well suited for mixing. Next to the flood of sourced rye from MGP or produced by small craft distilleries, I have the feeling that Overholt is often forgotten or thought of as boring stuff from yesteryear. However, together with Rittenhouse Rye it formed the basis for the survival of this style of whisky.

Nose

A very decent nose that is overly pleasant with clear notes of fresh rye, mint tea and a hint of milk chocolate. The usual spices are there, caraway, aniseed, some citrus fruits, accompanied by caramel, a surprising hint of beach sand, and more mint leaves. It is not really developing into new scents, but what is there smells pretty darn good.

Taste

Clearly a rye from the moment go. I find a lot of mint leaves, toothpaste, aniseed and fennel seeds. It becomes slightly woody, but not too woody. It fades rather fast, but it is very decent in the initial phase.

Overall

This is a classical rye, what you would expect from it. It is really very good, just do not expect anything too complex. But excellent to start off into the rye world and a good basic standard for the rest. I would recommend starting with this (or Rittenhouse Rye, which I find slightly better, but also more woody) before tasting the higher strength and very spicy MGP ryes.

What others say

Whiskybase: 76.32 (27 votes) * @TheWhiskeyWash: 70/100 * @Distiller: 86/100 * BreakingBourbon: 1.5/5 * @WhiskeyReviewer: C * @TheWhiskeyJug: 83/100 * ScotchNoob: Avoid!
Read for yourself

Big thanks to for sharing the sample!

Scores

these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
35%
Sweet <-> Spicy
50%
  • Caraway
  • Mint
  • Caramel
Nose 83%
Taste 83.5%
Balance 84%
Depth 81%
Finish 82%
Score