FEW Spirits cuts their award-winning Straight Rye to proof with a mystical tea from the mountains of central China.
Paul Hletko’s grandfather lost his Czechoslovak brewery to the Nazi’s in World War II and never got it back. Paul was doing home brewing and wanted to go into business for himself and took his family history and experience to heart, founding FEW Spirits in 2011. Ever the rebel, he opened his "grain to glass" craft business in Evanston, Illinois — the birthplace of the temperance movement — from a small building whose only entryway is through a back alley. And we are all glad he did. Over the last eight years, FEW Spirits has grown to three Whiskies, three Gins, and a handful of employees whose motto is "By the Few, for the Few."
Released for the first time in September 2020, FEW Immortal Rye Whiskey is an incredibly interesting idea. Rather than infuse spices or other botanicals into the Spirit, they start with Double Gold medal winning Straight Rye Whiskey right out of the barrel at full cask strength. Then they cut it to 46.5% ABV — but instead of bringing it to proof with water like normal, they use cold-brewed Ba Xian Dan Cong Oolong tea. So this is still a full flavored Rye Whiskey, but mingled with the rich, fruity, and floral tea. And that makes this permanent addition to the FEW Whiskey lineup one of THE most interesting sipping drams we’ve had this year.
"Ba Xian Dan Cong Oolong" is a specific kind of tea in the Dan Cong Oolong family. It has twisted leaves and only comes from the high, humid mountains of the Guangdong Province where the tea trees grow slowly in the rocks like aromatic bonsai. "Ba Xian" refers to the eight immortal heroes of Chinese mythology, each with divine powers.