Very Olde St. Nick is a whiskey label that was bottled by Julian Van Winkle and Kentucky Bourbon Distillers exclusively for the Japanese export market back in the early 2000s. Back then, the Japanese market was much more interested in super-aged bourbons than the the American market. These bourbons and ryes likely came from some of the same sources that went into the legendary Willett and Black Maple Hill bottlings from that era. The ryes are most likely to be from the old Bernheim or Medley distilleries; the bourbons could be from any number of sources.
These are extremely rare. Even in Japan, they haven't been available for years, except for the occasional dusty. I've never seen one in the flesh.
For the first time that I know of in the US, there will be a public tasting of the entire line of Very Olde St. Nick whiskeys. The Southern California Whiskey Club is hosting two tastings in which they will run through the entire line up; the first tasting, later this month, will cover the ryes. In August, a second meeting will taste the bourbons. The club was formed last year, and the great thing about it is that anyone can join, and meetings are open to all comers, first come, first served.
The Very Olde St. Nick rye tasting will be Sunday, June 22 at 7:00 pm at Far Bar in Little Tokyo. The fee is $59 which includes a half ounce sample of each whiskey and food. The whiskeys being sampled in that meeting are:
- Summer Rye, 80 proof
- 15 year Ancient Rye, 86 proof
- 16 year, Rare Perfection Rye, 86 proof
- 17 year, Ancient Rye, 103.7 proof
- 18 year, Ancient Rye, 104.6 proof
Note: Sku is not affiliated with the Southern California Whiskey Club and receives no compensation from them. He just thinks this is a really cool tasting.