Young and Hungry

Founding Farmers Rye Whisky: How Does It Differ From Wasmund’s Rye?


My weekend stopover at Agraria Farmers & Fishers proved quite beneficial, even if I already knew the phone number for the love of my life.  (Actually, come to think of it, I don't know it, but Carrie's cell is programmed right here, under "C," with the rest of the numbers I haven't memorized.)

Anyway, there above the bar at F&F are two rows of Founding Farmers Rye Whisky bottles, backlit for that eerie, trapped-in-amber Jurassic Park look. There are so many bottles, in fact, I figure each customer must get one as a parting gift. My fascination with the whisky, which Agraria's sister restaurant rolled out in June, compels the bartender to pour us a finger of the stuff, straight-up.

The whisky goes down smooth, with only a small dose of alcohol burn. There's a distinct sweetness on the finish, which I might even call butterscotch, but around the edges of my tongue, I pick up the most delightful hints of sour lemon. I like this rye. I like this rye too much. I want to take a bottle home with me and sleep with it under my pillow. Good thing Farmers & Fishers doesn't sell package liquor.

Earlier this afternoon, I started to dig around to learn more about Founding Farmers Rye Whisky, which is produced for the restaurant by Wasmund's at its Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville, Va. I found an old press release that says the "special distillation [is] made exclusively for Founding Farmers, and [is] only available at the restaurant..."

The release then quotes from Founding Farmers' chief mixologist Jon Arroyo, who says, "We examined every part of the whisky making process, and kept the good traditional parts, and added some new wrinkles of our own to make Founding Farmers Rye Whisky truly unique."

Founding Farmers Rye Whisky, according to the release, is...

composed of two-thirds rye and one-third hand-malted barley, malted with light smoke, 60 percent apple wood, and 40 percent cherry wood. Double pot distilled to between 150 and 160 proof in a 500-gallon mash still and 104-gallon spirit still, the Founding Farmers Rye Whisky is then aged at least 12 months in great old barrels made at Copper Fox Distillery. Three Copper Fox Distillery craftsmen, ensuring personalized attention to each delicious batch, oversee the entire process.

All of that sounds great, amazing even. Then I checked to see how the Founding Farmers Rye compares to the one produced and released by Wasmund's itself. Check out the two labels for yourself: Read the one in the photo above, then compare it to the one on Wasmund's bottle.

Perhaps the difference comes down to barrel aging, I don't know. What I do know: Y&H needs to make some phone calls tomorrow for clarification.

  • Dan Simons

    Hi Tim: Please be sure to call me and Jon Arroyo, and Rick Wasmund of course--we're happy to tell you all about our process. I'm thrilled you loved the Rye!

    --Dan Simons
    Founding Farmers + Farmers & Fishers

  • J

    Tim - you should have come to the Great Whiskey challenge at Agraria on Monday night. It was incredible and very informative.

  • Euktrain

    I haven't had the FF Rye, but I am a big fan of Wasmund's. Sounds like you need to just sit down with both. If you need any taste testers let me know!

    I took a tour of the distillery last summer from Rick himself. Definately worth the day trip out of DC.

  • Coltrane the Beagle

    Ahem. I thought I was the love of your life. BETRAYED!

    Expect a steaming pile on your pillow this eve.

  • Lou

    Chevy Chase Liquors carries a few of them. I got a bottle of the rye not too long ago. At ~$25/bottle not a bad deal.

    VERY potent.


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