Utah-based distillery Ogden’s Own has been chiefly known for its cheekily named Five Wives Vodka and various flavored spirits sold under the “Porter’s” label. In May of 2019, Ogden’s released its first unflavored whiskey in the form of Porter’s Small Batch Rye Whiskey.
Porter’s is composed of 95% rye and 5% malted barley, and is aged for more than three years in new, heavily charred oak barrels. It comes out of those barrels at 111 proof, but is diluted down to 90 proof for bottling.
It pours a mellow gold in the glass, and its straightforward nose features the expected notes of vanilla, oak, spice, and sawdust. Porter’s Rye is light in body and sweet from the start, with initial flavors of honey and vanilla. At the center it dries out slightly with impressions of sawdust and oak, and picks up spice and heat as it travels toward the conclusion. There’s a light roll out of spice at the end, but it tapers away into a light, somewhat delicate finish with just a lingering thread of spice to hold onto.
It’s a perfectly serviceable rye whiskey that hits the vanilla, oak, and spice notes you want it to, but doesn’t take you anywhere you haven’t been or necessarily crave to revisit after the last notes have faded away. For those that feel turned off by the spice bombardment of a 100-proof rye such as Rittenhouse or WhistlePig, this may be a good thing. But if you are looking for a more substantial rye to tuck into, the softer qualities and thinner body of Porter’s may disappoint.
While I wouldn’t make Porter’s my new sipping rye, it worked perfectly well in a Manhattan made with two parts rye, one part Carpano Antica, and two dashes of Angostura bitters. The rye stood up to the vermouth and delivered its oak and spice in a timely manner, and nicely dried out the finish of the cocktail as well. I won’t hesitate to reach for it the next time I need rye in my stirring glass.
— 45% ABV