Way back in September of 2019, we were lucky enough to witness the distillation of a rye whiskey made from a grain that hasn’t been used in decades. The grain is called Rosen Rye, and the distillery that would resurrect this grain is Stoll & Wolfe Distillery of Lititz, Pennsylvania. If you want to read all about that experience, click the following link where we recounted the whole story:
Flash forward two years, and we’re now able to taste what the Rosen Rye New Make tastes like after two years spent in a barrel. The whiskey is called Stoll & Wolfe Straight Keystone Rosen Rye. Here’s the whole story taken from a recent press release:
Rosen rye was introduced to the United States in the first decade of the 20th century and quickly became the most sought-after variety of rye grain, both by small grain farmers and by distillers of rye whiskey, the majority of whom were located in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania’s distilling legacy stretches back to the 17th century. When Rosen rye was introduced, distillers clamored for it and its popularity became so noted that distilleries bragged about its use in their products – including the venerable Michter’s Distillery in Schaefferstown, Pennsylvania. The last master distiller to make whiskey at Michter’s PA was the legendary Dick Stoll. After years of retirement from distilling, Mr. Stoll partnered with Erik Wolfe, a native of Lititz, Pa, to form Stoll & Wolfe Distillery. Their commitment to crafting great regionally traditional rye whiskey meant using heritage grains like Rosen rye to recreate historic rye whiskey recipes.
Unfortunately, Rosen rye grain, a favorite of PA rye distillers, disappeared altogether when farmers no longer found customers to buy it. In order to use this coveted rye in Stoll & Wolfe’s products, it would have to be re-grown from scratch. Erik Wolfe found an eager partner to help procure this missing rye grain in Laura Fields, founder of the Delaware Valley Fields Foundation, an agricultural PA non-profit. Fields ’SeedSpark Project would spend the next few years funding the propagation of a small handful of Rosen rye seed into thousands of pounds of grain by 2019. On September 7, 2019, Dick Stoll & Erik Wolfe ran the first batch of Keystone Rosen rye whiskey to be made in the United States in nearly half a century. That distillate filled a 30 gallon, 8-year-seasoned white oak barrel and went into the warehouse at Stoll & Wolfe Distillery the following day. It reached 2 years of age, giving it the distinction of being a straight rye whiskey, on September 8, 2021.
Most backstories talk about a secret recipe that belonged to a big time Chicago mobster, or a mysterious cask that was found in the back of a warehouse somewhere, or some other bit of gobbledygook. This Rosen Rye story? It’a all 100% true and verifiable!
Now that you know all that, we’re guessing that you want to know if all that time and effort was worth it. Click the following video to find out:
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