Empty Bottle Memoirs : Roknar Rye


Most whiskey articles have to do with the whiskey, but sometimes the journey to the bottom of a bottle has to do more with the memories that we’ve accrued than the mashbill. Rather than talk about the notes I get on the nose or the spice that comes from the rye, I wanted to look back at a bottle well lived.

A large part of this bottle of Roknar Rye was consumed in Chicago and just missed celebrating the Cubs World Series victory in 2016 having been opened in January of 2017. It was a gift to me from my mom on Christmas of 2016 and was one I had my eye on since it was distilled in my home state of Minnesota at Far North Distillery. It’s label is well-designed, which may be another reason why it’s hard for me to get rid of it.

In over two years this bottle has welcomed friends to our Chicago apartment, celebrated my sons first and second birthdays, and recently helped make me feel a bit more at home in our new place in Omaha. It’s been shared between close friends and has been enjoyed solo.

The majority of this bottle was enjoyed neat, maybe with a splash of spring water here or there and never allowed to hit ice. It was poured slowly as to not reach the bottom too quickly.

After having left Chicago, a city we still call home, and friends we love there’s definitely a bit of an emotional tie to this bottle. Not because it was the only bottle I enjoyed in Chicago. There were a number of others that we tasted in community and a handful more that still have some life left in them. It’s because it was the first one that I emptied in Omaha after making the move from Chicago.

What I learned as I neared the end, often pouring a dram for myself in a city that is still somewhat new to us, was that it always tastes better when it’s enjoyed with someone else.

That is why Whiskey and Words got started and continues to gather today. This empty bottle is more of a testimony to the relationships formed throughout its lifetime than the whiskey that was consumed.

As you go to finish that bottle of yours I encourage you to look back at the time well spent with others through each pour that came from it. I’m sure it’s a special whiskey but I would bet the memories are sweeter.