Thirteenth Colony is a craft distiller in Americus, Georgia. Small batch, care and quality, blah blah blah, I won’t bore you with the hype. Whenever I hear the terms craft, hand-crafted or the like, I always start to tune out a little. Those words are like sparkly, consumer-fish lures. There’s a barb on the end of them and in many cases I’ve walked away feeling gutted after taking the bait.
Craft whisky can be a disaster, and often smaller distilleries don’t have the same experience or economic clout to make a good and affordable whisky as easily as the bigger companies can, but I’ll save you from reading the rest of the article wondering about this whisky right now; if you ever find any Thirteenth Colony Southern Rye you should definitely buy it… you lucky bastards.
The folks at Thirteenth Colony really are a small company. I feel a little bit like I found a forgotten treasure map that led me to them. According to the webpage Thirteenth Colony’s products are only available in thirteen states right now (insert spooky-coincidence music), all but one of them east of the Mississippi, my home state not included. So to all my friends in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Misissippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming, I am extremely jealous of you!
The sales manager tells me that the rye is around two years old. Besides being packaged in a sexy, stamp-shaped bottle, it’s a sultry 95 proof, 96% rye and 4% barley, aged in charred American white oak casks modified with some Sessile oak from France. Now this is awesome stuff and for a mere $30 not pretentious at all. It’s welcoming and delicious. A proud Southern Rye!
Nose: Alive, kicking, bold and youthful in all the right places. Parsley, Swedish meatballs, butterscotch and peach cobbler served in a freshly filled hay loft. Sunny hotel rooms, sunflower hand lotion and strawberry reduction down the street from a biker bar where they’re holding a burn out competition. Buttery creamed corn. Moments of root beer peek in between hits of caraway.
Palate: Punchy with caraway, caramel, hot naugahyde and pumpernickel. Gummy cola bottles speed by in the finish. The rye spice, black tea and pepper marry nicely to hearty oak, hidden charcoal smoke and a long finish that sticks around in the mouth. Bold and delicious!
The last time I was in Georgia, I was visiting an old friend in Marietta, about 150 miles north of Americus. Afterwards, we did the tourist thing and braved the eight-lane, circular highways of Atlanta to go visit the World of Coca-Cola. This bottle of Southern Rye kind of reminds me of being in the tasting room at the end of the tour where you could sample a hundred different sodas from all around the world. The bright and shiny branding, the exciting flavors, the urge to run around like a child at recess and drink way more than you should. This is awesome!
Kudos and thank you to Elizabeth Warnock down at Thirteenth Colony for the bottle!