Within the pantheon of whiskies named after individuals—Johnnie Walker, Elijah Craig, Jack Daniel’s—there’s one which’s endured longer than any, and carries a verifiably genuine backstory as well. Previous Overholt, America’s most storied and longest-running rye, bears the title and picture of Abraham Overholt, an irascible Pennsylvanian who based a whiskey empire that’s lasted over two centuries.

Many individuals thought-about Abe a tricky nut to crack throughout his lifetime, and now the tables have turned: He’s been immortalized in nutcracker type.

This vacation season, Previous Overholt has partnered with German nutcracker artisans Steinbach to create a particular figurine of its founding patriarch. The wood Abe, along with his outsized eyebrows and trademark scowl, is flanked by a sack of rye grain and a barrel. He sports activities a gold pocket watch—little question protecting observe of how shortly his workers are working—and carries a bottle of traditional Previous Overholt. The hardness of Abe’s demeanor is matched solely by the power of his jaws, which might crack a walnut shell with ease.

This presentation of the Overholt scion isn’t only for enjoyable: It’s rooted within the lifetime of the person and historical past of the model. Abraham started making whiskey at his household’s Western Pennsylvania farm distillery within the first decade of the nineteenth century. As soon as known as an “unruly Mennonite,” he had a popularity for frugality—which is saying one thing, contemplating the hardscrabble calls for of life on the frontier at the moment.

Abraham had the character traits for achievement, nevertheless: In his lifetime, he took the Overholt rye distillery from being little greater than a farm operation to one of many nation’s largest whiskey producers. On the time of his loss of life in 1870, A. Overholt & Co. had two distilleries in Western Pennsylvania making well-regarded Monongahela rye. Lower than 20 years later, that whiskey had totally adopted Previous Overholt as its model and was being bottled with Abraham’s scowling face on the label. The picture was primarily based on a real-life portrait of Abraham and nonetheless graces each bottle of Previous Overholt in the present day.

Courtesy Picture

Although Prohibition dealt a deadly blow to many whiskey makers, Previous Overholt survived. You could keep in mind it as a plot level within the third season of “Boardwalk Empire,” when then-distillery proprietor Andrew Mellon conspires with Nucky Thompson to maintain the power up and operating illegally. That half is all fiction, however Mellon—real-life Secretary of the Treasury—did grant himself a license to promote medicinal whiskey from Previous Overholt’s shares, which stored the model alive till Repeal.

Lately Previous Overholt is made in Kentucky, not Pennsylvania, although its unique location nonetheless stands. Just lately that web site—now a museum and dwelling historical past expertise known as West Overton—started making whiskey as soon as once more on a micro-scale, providing guests an opportunity to see what it was like two centuries in the past, when Abraham himself labored the stills.

The Previous Overholt model has been busy too, releasing new choices like Bottled-in-Bond and 114 Proof, an amped up model of the traditional rye that may please followers of high-proof whiskey. A extremely restricted Previous Overholt 11-year-old got here out final 12 months—the oldest rye the model has ever launched.

Any of those bottles would make an ideal reward in tandem with this limited-edition nutcracker. A lot of the stiff-legged little Abes offered out inside hours of launch, priced at $399 every, however we hear that a number of extra might change into out there as a part of a second batch, so verify Steinbach’s web site. The whiskey drinker who already has a cupboard filled with rocks glasses and extra decanters than they might probably fill is bound to go nuts over such a novel piece of whiskey gear.

And even when they don’t get one in every of these iron-jawed Abes, bottle of Previous Overholt needs to be simply as welcome.


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