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My Wandering Eye: Gamle Ode Holiday Aquavit on Rye

Posted on by Eric Burke

Disclaimer: I consider Mike McCarron of Gamle Ode to be my friend and in my statement of ethics I promised to disclose when I am reviewing one of my friend’s products and to only review them when it was truly something I really liked. This is one of those times. He also keeps me well supplied with Aquavit so I should also note that this bottle was free.

As I discussed in the intro to this series, bourbon prices are creeping up. Limited editions are selling at retail for insane prices. And I’m getting a bit sick of it. My eye is wandering. I need to find things that I can get me excited about spirits and not break the bank. So when my friend Mike McCarron of Gamle Ode spirits invited me to have a drink with him and try his new Limited Edition Aquavit, I knew I needed to take a look.

Holiday on Rye is a version of his normal Holiday Aquavit but aged for 18 months in used rye whiskey barrels instead of his usual used wine barrels. It was also bottled with a nice proof bump clocking in at 50.24% ABV as opposed to the 42% of the original. Holiday Aquavit normally sells for $28-$30. Here in the Twin Cities Limited Edition Holiday on Rye is retailing for the very non-insane price of $30-$35.

So you may be asking yourself, “What is aquavit anyway?” That is a good question and before I jump straight into my review I should probably answer that for you. Like gin, aquavit is neutral spirit infused with herbal flavors. In the case of gin, the base flavor is juniper berries. In aquavit’s case it is caraway. And like gin, you are allowed to use more than just the base flavor. In the case of Holiday Aquavit and Holiday on Rye, caraway is joined by dill, juniper, orange peels, mint and allspice. Unlike a sweet and spicy bourbon, this is a savory drink.

Gamle Ode Holiday Aquavit on Rye Whiskey Barrels

Purchase info: This bottle was kindly given to me by the owner of Gamle Ode. In the Twin cities, I’m seeing it online in the $30-$35 range for a 750 mL.

Details: Bottle 425 of 426, 50.24% ABV. 

Nose: Mint, dill, juniper and citrus.

Mouth: Delicate on entry with a sweet spice that sneaks up on you as it moves back. Bright and energetic. 

Finish: Lingering flavors of mint, dill and citrus. 

A smile because I like this.

Thoughts: I like this a lot. Yes, it is produced by a friend of mine, but I can easily say that it is worth a look if you are in a market where it is sold. It is bright and energetic on the palate, probably from 18 months spent in rye whiskey barrels, and the infused flavors are amazingly well integrated. This is a savory treat for lovers of unique flavors.


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