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Aimsel Ponti

Aimsel Ponti is a Content Producer at and a music writer for and the Portland Press Herald. She has been obsessed with - and inspired by - music since she listened to Monkees records borrowed from the town library when she was six years old. She bought her first Rolling Stones record at a flea market when she was in 7th grade and discovered David Bowie a year later. She's a HUGE fan of the local music scene and covers it along with national musical happenings in her "Face the Music" column and with artist interviews that appear in print in the Portland Press Herald and online at You'll also find her out and about absorbing live music like a sponge and roaming around local record shops and flea markets. Aimsel is also the host of Music from 207 on 98.9 WCLZ and appears monthly on the WCHS TV show “207” to talk of course.

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Posted: June 27, 2017

Belly up to the bar for a shot of whiskey with The Ghost of Paul Revere

Written by: Aimsel Ponti
RYE OR DIE Rye Whiskey Image courtesy of Tamworth Distilling

RYE OR DIE Rye Whiskey
Image courtesy of Tamworth Distilling

I love a cool piece of band merchandise, and I love to see new and creative ways that bands are partnering with companies to put out unique offerings. The Ballroom Thieves teamed up with Night Shift Brewing, and you can now kick back with a can of Thievery Ale.

I adore Ballroom Thieves, but I’m honestly more of a whiskey girl. In fact, a whiskey on the rocks is my signature show drink, and I do my part to keep the lights on at One Longfellow Square, Port City Music Hall and the State Theatre with my orders of Jameson. This is why I’m excited about the latest news from another band I adore, Portland’s very own The Ghost of Paul Revere. They’ve got a whiskey!

Photo courtesy of the artist far left = Sean McCarthy middle=Max Davis right= Griffin Sherry

Sean McCarthy, Max Davis and Griffin Sherry Photo courtesy of the artist

But let’s rewind for a moment and talk about The Ghost, for those of you not in the know. They’re a holler-folk act based here but who travel all over the place playing shows, most recently at the Mountain Jam festival at Hunter Mountain in Hunter, New York. The current lineup is guitarist/vocalist Griffin Sherry, banjo player/vocalist Max Davis and bassist/vocalist Sean McCarthy.

Their 2015 album “Field Notes, Vol. 1,” from the lonesomeness of “Requiem for Northern Souls” to the longing of “Annabelle,” is a terrific record. Their cover of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” is transcendent. It’s as if the band is standing on the edge of a cliff and singing it for the entire planet at sunrise.

The 2014 EP “Believe” is also outstanding and is home to my favorite Ghost tune “San Antone.” The band is in the midst of putting the finishing touches on its forthcoming album, which is slated for an early fall release.

I’m sworn to secrecy for now about the title and official release date but will keep you updated. What I can tell is that it’s being produced by Jonathan Wyman, and guest musicians include drummer Tony McNaboe and cellist Kevin Oates. The Ghost spent seven months recording it last year, and I, for one, can’t wait to hear it.

Now, let’s talk about that whiskey. I reached out to Sherry for the skinny on the hooch. He told me it was made in collaboration with the band’s friends at Tamworth Distilling in Tamworth, New Hampshire. Ghost played at the Tamworth Lyceum about two and a half years ago and fell in love with the community there. They ended up getting a tour of the distillery just as it was about to barrel its first batch of 100-percent Maine-grown-rye whiskey.

Sherry said this piqued the band’s interest immensely. “They took us through the entire process, and we were lucky enough to seal and sign the (53-gallon) barrel. Fast-forward to this spring, and it’s ready. It’s an incredible honor, a band whiskey has been a dream of ours, and now almost six years to the day after we started, it’s here.”

The Ghost of Paul Revere whiskey is called Rye or Die, and the distillery tasting notes describe it as “cherry-like nose and depth with a sweetness akin to cherry cola. Slight pepper kick. Smooth, hay-like notes open up warm on the tongue, with a fruity sweetness. Whiffs of apple and pear.”

“I think it tastes like delicious,” said Sherry. As for me, did I mention my birthday is on Sunday, and a bottle of this stuff would make a fine gift?

A visit to revealed key info. “Made from a blend of organic raw and malted rye grown in the band’s home state and aged for two years, Rye or Die is a celebration of the passage of time. Eventually we’ll die, but for now, whiskey.”

I also placed a call to Lulu Henle, event coordinator at Tamworth Distilling, because I wondered how to best consume Rye or Die. Turns out, there’s no wrong way. Although it hasn’t been bottled yet – that happens this weekend – Henle said that, based on her experience with another whiskey from Tamworth, both neat and on the rocks would be entirely tasty. She also suggests using Rye or Die in a Manhattan or a rye Old Fashioned cocktail.

So how do you get your hands on a bottle? First off, only 250 bottles were made, and 100 are available for pre-sale. The first 50 folks to pre-order a bottle are eligible for VIP pre-show access to the barrel house for a meet-and-greet and bottle signing with the band on Monday at the Rye or Die release celebration.

The release party happens at the distillery from 6 to 8 p.m., and The Ghost of Paul Revere will be performing in the huge doorway of the barrel house with fans watching from out on the lawn. Expect food, dancing and merchandise. But don’t expect actual booze; legally, it can’t be sold or served during the party, but there will be non-alcoholic options available.

If you want to take home a bottle of Rye or Die, show up before the tasting room closes at 6 p.m. to make your purchase.

Can’t make the party? No problem, you can just stop by the distillery and pick it up. Rye or Die sells for $55 for a 750-millileter bottle. What’s more, the fellas from Ghost have personally signed all of the labels.

I’ll end with a congrats to The Ghost and a fitting James Joyce quote: “The light music of whiskey falling into glasses made an agreeable interlude.”


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