All the sudden this new Rye starts popping up called “Lock, Stock and Barrel” Straight Rye. It is the product of RJ Cooper and Sons/Cooper Spirits. The family had imported Chamboard until being sold to Brown Forman about 8-10 years ago for something like $250,000,000. It’s been out for a few months and I was curious. What the hell is the stuff because it smells like a Whistle Pig reincarnation? Many places that have it are limiting purchases to 1 bottle for the insane price of $110-$130 for a 13 year Rye. Note that even Van Winkle 13 year rye has held the price to about $70. The company was started in 2006. Bottle and label has a nice old Jack Daniel-ish classic old look. Any warning bells yet? Let’s continue. I’ve bolded my favorite parts.
PR stuff on the “very limited” special stuff—
AFTER AGING 13 YEARS in new charred American oak barrels, this is a master distiller’s ‘robust cut’ of 100% rye whiskey from doubled pot stills, standing at 101.3 proof. The quality of the farm-sourced rye grain, artisanal distillation process, and the depth and robust character of a rye aged for 13 years result in an inherently rare and limited offering — a real whiskeyman’s whiskey.
“Cooper LTD Curators of Finest and Rare Spirit’s, Philadelphia”
Anything yet? Bullshit meters are ringing at this point. 100% Rye is almost always a huuuuge clue. I especially like the “farm sourced”. I guess this is opposed to a Walmart sourced Rye?
The stores selling it are gushing regurgitated PR mumbo jumbo such as— “Yes America, Pennsylvania Rye is finally back” without a clue or just going along for the ride.
From the company website:
“Makers of Rare and Fine Spirits
“Worlds Finest Expression”
The Cooper Spirits Company is an independent, family-owned supplier of integrity-driven spirits. Founded in 2006 by Robert J. Cooper, a third generation distiller, the company has offices in New York City, Philadelphia, and Palm Beach.”
More PR stuff—
We wanted a real whiskeyman’s
And from the bottle—
“This is an Honest Resolute Whiskeyman’s Whiskey”
“Three Generations of Distillers”
The rye is grown in the Pacific Northwest
“DISTILLER OF THE YEAR”– WINE ENTHUSIAST “HOT TEN”– BON APPETIT
(same Wine Enthusiast that gave non-distiller Michters the same award a couple years later)
OK, Let’s review
· new charred American oak barrels
· master distiller’s ‘robust cut’ of 100% rye
· Makers of Rare and Fine Spirits
· Family-owned supplier of integrity-driven spirits
· Third generation distiller
· This is an Honest Resolute Whiskeyman’s Whiskey
· “Three Generations of Distillers”
· DISTILLER OF THE YEAR”– WINE ENTHUSIAST “HOT TEN”– BON APPETIT
· The rye is grown in the Pacific Northwest
When you see “Honest”, “Integrity” and the other efforts above be very very careful.
Some more PR stuff that you have to very dig deeply for—
“Our founder, Robert Cooper, has been a serious rye whiskey enthusiast for a long time - far before rye came back into vogue. Several years ago, we did acquire a healthy stock of straight rye whiskies from multiple sources. Included in this acquisition was an amazing discovery of aged, perfectly matured straight rye. No hyperbole here - we tasted it with some of the most notable folks in the whiskey world, and they tell us it’s the best straight rye they’ve ever had.”
PA Liquor Board lists him and company as an Importer not a Manufacturer
GENERAL LICENSEE INFORMATION
COOPER SPIRITS INTERNATIONAL LLC Address:
2633 TRENTON AVE
License No: I 774 LID: 57663
License Type:IMPORTER-(I) County: PHILADELPHIA COUNTY
Municipality-(code): PHILADELPHIA-(005) Status: ACTIVE
OWNER ISSUE DATES
Original Owner: 3/15/2007 Current Owner: 3/15/2007
ROBERT J COOPER - (ACTIVE) Title(s):
I can’t find any information of a still or actual distillation happening in Philadelphia nor anywhere else in the US. The TTB info shows a PA. Distillers DSP-PA-53 permit which means nothing
Straight Bourbon Website has this thread that was replied to by a person representing themselves as being from Cooper Spirits. This response is below—
One inaccuracy in the rumor is the age of the whiskey. We are not using the same liquid as Whistlepig or Jefferson, but in fact an older and rarer stock. This Fall, we will be releasing a limited expression of this whiskey - a 13 year straight rye, truly robust and complex. I will share more info here as soon as I’m able. We’re very excited to see how this community enjoys it!
Back in 2007-8, after our founder, Robert Cooper, launched St-Germain, he had a recurring nightmare that he would be forever known as the guy who made the flower liqueur. He pursued his longtime passion for rye whiskey, what he (and many others) consider the original American spirit. This search culminated in a grand discovery of old rye whiskey stocks in the Great White North - rye whiskey in new charred American Oak at Alberta Distilleries (ADL) that is now 13 years old. While he secured these barrels well in advance of anyone else to pursue ADL, we knew that we would be rewarded for tasting regularly through the aging process and tipping the barrels at the optimal time. These really are the honey barrels, the best expression of this hearty northern rye.
So let me get this right—Whisky Geeks online are on to the scam and start passing around that’s it’s just Whistle Pig and Jefferson equivalent stocks. So they have to jump in to say they are better but admitting it’s Canadian ( to the trained eye aka “Alberta Distilleries (ADL)” as they still never say Canadian, just code) while being very much the opposite in their normal public consumer face.
Last but not least this from the food.feedfury.com website that posted an interview of Cooper from Slashfood regarding potential nutritional labeling laws for Alcohol—partial excerpt below—
…And besides, adds Cooper, “Alcohol is not a critical component of one’s sustenance. It’s for recreational use. Who cares if it’s good for you?”.
That says so much about what gears are turning to me.
So before running off to buy a 13 year old rye that’s very very expensive (that 99% of the whiskey buyers would be sure was from the US), it’s from Canada folks. Not a damn thing wrong with that. Has obsoletely nothing to do with how it tastes.
My problem with them is why hide it to the public. I see no sign that these people are anything but marketers and saleman, NOT distillers. Its not US, its Canadian but there is No sign of that on the bottle. Every effort has been made to avoid that information and make the average consumer think it’s from the US without directly saying either way.If your proud of what’s in the bottle don’t hide or BS people. Dave Perkins of High West has built a very good and highly respected brand from being transparent and honest. If your a potential brand that’s afraid to call it Canadian then don’t buy it, don’t bottle it and don’t bullshit people.