It has taken nearly a hundred years, and four very special sherry barrels just as old, but Rieger’s Monogram Whiskey is finally ready to hit the shelves in select area retailers on Thursday, March 30.
Rieger & Co. much anticipated Rieger’s Monogram whiskey is a blend of 11-year rye and 9-year corn whiskey, but what truly makes it unique is that the whiskey has been finished for 18 months in four, 500-liter sherry botas, or wood barrels, that are each over a century old.
The large botas, painted matte black to help spot any leaks in the barrels, were sourced from Williams & Humbert, one of the oldest Sherry producers in Jerez, Spain, who also supplies J. Rieger & Co. with the 15 year old Oloroso sherry they blend into their Rieger’s Kansas City whiskey.
Although the new 2017 release of Rieger’s Monogram has no additional sherry added, it simply gets the essence of sherry imparted through a system of fractional blending inspired by the solera system in Jerez, where small portions of the blend are extracted each time, always leaving something left in the barrel to give to the next batch its rich character and flavor.
Steve Olson, a sherry expert and partner in J. Rieger & Co., worked on all the “sacas” or transfer-and-removals of the whiskey to create the 2017 release of Rieger’s Monogram Whiskey.
“It was a special day when we unloaded the 500-liter botas from the solera of Williams & Humbert at the distillery,” notes Olson. “We had selected 8- year old Corn Whiskey to place in three of the Botas, and we added 10-year old Rye Whiskey to the fourth. The Whiskey entered the Botas on June 29, 2015. Two months later, we barrel-tasted for the first-time. It was mind- blowing! That’s when we decided to go beyond traditional blending and start to selectively draw out the whiskey to find the depth that only these special, old barrels can deliver.”
With only 1,000 bottles available, each retailing for $100 a piece, the Monogram label was planned from the beginning to represent the highest standards in quality and creativity for the brand, produced in limited numbers, and presented as an annual series, that will change from year to year.
Rieger’s Monogram does not replicate the original recipe, but instead showcases the 2 year-old distillery’s highly innovative approach to what great whiskey can, and should be.
The tasting notes for the 2017 Rieger’s Monogram Whiskey would start with rich, deep, dark fruit and nuttiness from the Oloroso sherry, mixed with the spices and confectionary tones of the of the old oak botas. At 104 proof, the lovely dark fruit and caramel notes come together in perfect harmony for a creamy, full taste.
The Rieger’s Monogram whiskey represents the sixth product in a line that already includes Kansas City Whiskey, Midwestern Premium Vodka, Midwestern Dry Gin, Left For Dead, and Caffé Amaro.
“This officially marks the new launch of the original Rieger’s Monogram label for our company,” said Andy Rieger, co-founder of J. Rieger & Co. “Monogram was one of the first original Rieger labels that we came across that we knew we wanted to do something special with.”
One taste, and you’ll be celebrating this unique new product in Kansas City.
For more information, go to jriegerco.com.