By: Scott Ritenbaugh
Earlier this year, Aaron Hajduk and myself participated on another barrel selection with our friends from the Cleveland Bourbon Co-Op. This time our journey brought us to – of all places – a barber shop.
But don’t worry Pittsburgh Whiskey Friends, we haven’t lost our minds, because this barber shop is more than meets the eye. After being buzzed in at the rear entrance and passing through the barbershop, we were led up a narrow staircase that ended at a bookcase.
Upon pressing the button behind this book we were lead into Quintana’s Speakeasy
Quintana’s Speakeasy is run by Alex & Dawn Quintana and they were our hosts for the day. They are also sponsoring this particular pick.
After enjoying a cocktail in the Speakeasy bar, we met up with Hank, Carl and Dave from the Cleveland Bourbon Co-Op, and we were all led up another narrow staircase to the private tasting room above the bar.
Once we all were settled in, we were introduced to Adam from Heidelberg Distributing Company. Adam would lead us through our tasting for the day.
Adam started us of with the standard offerings from Rossville Union, just to give us a base to go by. We were able to sample the 94 proof Straight Rye Whiskey as well as the Barrel Strength 112.6 proof Straight Rye Whiskey. Both offerings were excellent and a very good sign of the main event to come.
We had 3 rye samples to choose from: the savory, the sweet, and the spicy. The spicy had a great nose and initial palate, but the finish plummeted and became totally non-existent and ended up being the first casualty (unanimously everyone agreed to kill it). We were down to the savory vs the sweet.
The sweet was very familiar, it was vanilla frosting, brown sugar, caramel, and roasted peanuts. The aroma was great, the palate was great, and the finish was medium to long. It’s a great pour, nothing bad about it, but it wasn’t unique, nor did it differentiate itself in any way. After tasting the Rossville standard Barrel Proof release, we didn’t think there was much difference between the two. They were very similar, with the sample being slightly richer, but not different enough to truly stand out.
The savory. This initially had some alcohol burn on the nose, but after letting the sample sit, this burn quieted down and revealed molasses & baking spices. On the palate we got spice cake, molasses, raisin, yeasty bread, and some cereal notes. The mouthfeel was very creamy. The finish was long and rich with that molasses & spice cake as dominate note. Unlike the spicy sample, the savory had a nice warming chest hug. This was the ONE for the Pittsburgh Whiskey Friends, and we look forward to sharing it with all of you very soon.
Thanks again to the Admin team at Cleveland Bourbon Co-Op for including us on this pick and all the others. This wouldn’t be possible without all of their efforts. Cheers Friends! 🥃