A pre-prohibition bottle, circa 1909. The top of the capsule on the bottle says "C.F. Wildey and Son, New York". Some extensive googling revealed that C.F. Wildey was a hotel owner during this era. One website shows him as the proprietor of the Cosmopolitan Hotel at the corner of Chambers Street and West Broadway, which still exists today. Given the capsule, it would seem that the hotel bottled this whisky itself. Although the Bottled in Bond act was passed in 1897, its possible that hotels and shopkeepers still had barrels of whiskey their cellars.
The label has a government statement indicating the contents are a "compound of superior whiskey and other grain distillates". Not very helpful but would seem to indicate that this could be a blend. Also the spelling of whiskey (with the "e") and the dark orange color seem to point towards American whiskey.
First nosing reveals a very pungent and woody nose, with strong nutmeg and black tea aromas hiding some lighter cinnamon notes. Well, it's definitely whiskey, and If I had a guess I would say it's a bourbon with some wheat in the mash bill.
The palate is quite oily with an unusual mouth feel. I suspect this is now a bit under proof due to evaporation and that may explain it. Despite the oily texture, it's not sweet at all, quite dry, woody, and tannic with strong notes of tea and tobacco. But not bad at all!
Very hard to give a grade to something like this. I can't say I want to drink a lot of this, but that's partially the fear factor, who really knows what's in this bottle. It was not too long before this time that adulteration of whiskey was rampant, so it's possible those tea notes I detected are in fact tea! I'll give it a B, because it's a whisky worth trying that you might want to own.
Not that anyone will ever find another bottle of this, or be foolish brave enough to drink it, but whatever.
I'm not assigning a rating to this. I don't even know what it was. On my first sip, it immediately struck me as rancid and sour, and I raced to the bathroom and spat it out. I waited some time to see if the other guys in the room -- who were swallowing quite a bit of this -- seemed to suffer any ill effects. As they all seemed to retain their eye and lung functions, I dared take another sip. That time, it didn't strike me so awfully... in fact, it was quite sweet and rather caramel-y. Felt funny in my mouth, a texture like a liquer. And that's about all I could find out about it, because I was too scared to drink much more.
Notes entered just so I can remember years from now that I tried this. NOTE TO SELF: Stop trying stuff like this.
When you get a sample marked "Danger Drink at Own Risk," you know you're in for a wild ride, so here we go...
It smells syrupy. I can detect some feint whiskey notes, maybe some weak rye, but it certainly doesn't scream whiskey at me. There are even some salty/seaweed notes on the nose. There's also some wood, but it's not exactly oak, more like an old dusty cabinet. Definitely some medicinal notes and some bitterness.
Dare I taste it? I do.
It's not unpleasant, but not very whiskey like. There are anise notes and a lot of peppermint type flavors, then it settles into an iced tea flavor profile, then I get some rye spice. On second taste it tastes like iced tea with a little bit of rye whiskey in it. It goes down like iced tea too, very smooth/weak tasting.
Finish: My jaw feels stiff.
It's an interesting flavor profile...maybe that's the lead or whatever is in this stuff. Worth trying? Definitely, so B- it is.