Christie’s shines a light on pre-Prohibition rye

A rare collection of pre-Prohibition rye from Old Overholt distillery is to go under the hammer at Christie’s in New York later this month.

Taking place at the Rockerfeller Plaza on 24 October, the sale includes Old Overholt rye from 1905, 1906, 1908, 1909, 1910, and 1912 in their original wooden cases, which carry an estimate of $2,000-3,000 each.

The rye comes from the cellar of billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, a descendent of banker Andrew Mellon who owned a share in Old Overholt distillery.

According to spirits writer David Wondrich, who tasted samples of the rye, they offer “clean and rich notes of cedar and sweet spice” and “pleasant waves of sweet grain character”.

Founded in 1810, Old Overholt was originally distilled in Broad Ford Pennsylvania and was popular with the US navy during World War II.

The whiskey is named after farmer Abraham Overholt, grandfather of American industrialist Henry Clay Frick.

Today the brand is owned by Beam Suntory and produced at the Jim Beam distillery in Kentucky.

The fine wine and spirits auction, which starts at 10am, also includes 1961 Petrus and several vintages of La Tâche.

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