It was with no little amount of sadness that I learned that Robert J Cooper had passed away. It’s not like I knew him or even knew who he was. Though I probably should have since he was the creator of such spirits brands as St. Germain, Lock Stock & Barrel Rye, and Hochstadter's Low & Slow Rock and Rye.
No I was sad for an entirely selfish reason. As I learned of his death, I also learned of his age, which happens to be the same as mine. 39 years old. That’s really young and any time you hear of someone your age dying, doesn’t matter how, you start to look at your own mortality. To question if you are where you want to be in life or if there is something else that you should be doing. To examine how you are going to get there.
In the past when I’ve done this evaluation whether it was from the death of a friend or a stranger, I’ve found my life wanting. I was in a soul-sucking job or working without passion. This time however, I’m happy to say that I find I’m in a good place. Business is good, I’m happy with the work I’m doing as a designer and I have people who are interested in what I have to say as a writer.
So here’s to Robert J. Cooper, a man I never even heard of, that has helped in some small way to remind me that life is pretty good.
Hochstadter's Vatted Straight Rye Whiskey
Purchase Info: Apple Valley Liquors, Apple Valley, MN $35.99 for a 750 mL
Details: 50% ABV. On bottle there is no age statement so assumed 4 years old. The website backs that up claiming it is “A complex blend of hand-selected straight rye whiskeys, aged 4-15 years and curated from distilleries across North America. Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Alberta.” The site also mentions that the whiskey is non-chill filtered.
Nose: Caramel, cloves and cedar.
Mouth: Soft in the mouth with cloves, cinnamon, mint and brown sugar.
Finish: Starts hot and slowly fades to sweet with just a hint of pickle and bubble gum.
Thoughts: I’m a big fan of the theory of the one. Take rye’s from all over, from many different distilleries in many different places and just blend them together to get something new. Very cool idea. It is also a very tasty whiskey and has become one of my favorite ryes in the two months I’ve had it in my house. Who knows what will happen to the brand now that the founder is gone, but for now, I’ll keep buying it as long as I can keep finding it.