Nestled in the foothills of the Catskill mountains and located just moments away from the site of the original Woodstock Music Festival, Catskill Distilling Company honors the rich history of the Sullivan County Catskills — a unique blend of tradition and revolution.
Over three decades ago, Monte Sachs — Catskill Distilling Company's founder and distiller — attended veterinary school at the University of Pisa in Italy. After class each day, Sachs would meet with an Italian farmer named Bernardini, who taught Sachs how to distill grappa. "He taught me about the importance of sourcing quality ingredients from small farms and about how the shape and size of a still is reflected in the weight and mouthfeel of the spirits," says Sachs.
Catskill Distilling Company's Most Righteous Bourbon is the result of a collaboration between Sachs and Lincoln Henderson, the creator of Woodford Reserve Bourbon
and Angel's Envy Bourbon
. Sachs sources a mash of 70% corn, 20% rye and 10% malted barley from Cochecton Mills, a local farm in upstate New York, and then mills the grains inside his 5,000 square-foot distillery.
Meanwhile, Catskill Distilling Company's Defiant Rye Whiskey is crafted from a mash of 65% rye grains and 35% malted barley, while Catskill Distilling's Fearless Wheat Whiskey is distilled from a mash of primarily wheat (all the grains are harvested locally).
Catskill Distilling Company's Otay Buckwheat Spirit is made from a mash of 80% buckwheat and 20% corn and malted barley. Legally speaking, Sachs can't call the spirit whiskey since whiskey must be distilled from grains (technically, buckwheat does not belong to the same family as grains). "It's the only spirit in the country made from buckwheat, as far as I know," says Sachs.
After mashing and fermenting the grains for approximately 5 days, Sachs distills the wash for each whiskey through his custom-made, twin 650-liter copper pot stills imported from Germany. "Some people have said saxophone; some people have said flute; some people have said Willy Wonka," says Sachs of the still's appearance. "But it is an incredible instrument."
After the spirits have been distilled, Sachs pours them into 25-gallon, charred oak casks and allows them to mature. "Much of the way our spirits taste is because of our maturation house," says Sachs. The casks are placed in Catskill Distilling Company's temperature-controlled warehouse, which was specially designed to accelerate the whiskey's maturation process. The temperatures in the warehouse are constantly monitored and altered in order to increase the exposure of the spirits to the oak.
After a 2-year slumber, each cask of Most Righteous Bourbon, Defiant Rye, Fearless Wheat and Buckwheat Spirit is brought to proof with water from the Catskill spring thaw and then bottled by hand.
Most Righteous Bourbon has a nose of caramel and fudge, with initial notes of butterscotch, toffee, molasses and dried fruits. The flavors give way to slightly spicier notes of cinnamon, ginger and a touch of spice before leading to a soft, smooth finish. Most Righteous Bourbon earned the Gold Medal at The Fifty Best Tasting Competition in 2012 and was "highly recommended"in F. Paul Pacult's Spirit Journal
Defiant Rye Whiskey has an aroma of caramel, brown sugar and molasses that gives way to notes of creamy vanilla, crème brÃ»lée and mocha on the palate. Lingering touches of tropical fruits — particularly bananas and coconuts — lead to smooth finish accented by notes of woody spices. Defiant Rye Whiskey earned the Gold Medal at The Fifty Best Tasting Competition, and was named a "Must-Try Whiskey"by Wine Enthusiast
Fearless Wheat Whiskey has an aroma of pears, apples and honeydew that gives way to notes of soft vanilla, lemon zest and charred oak on the palate. The finish is bold and spicy, with hints of dark chocolate, orange and cloves.
Otay Buckwheat Spirit has a rich and spicy nose, and opens up to notes of raisins, vanilla, orange peel and a touch of chocolate. Otay Buckwheat Spirit also earned four stars and a rating of "highly recommended"from F. Paul Pacult's Spirit Journal
Pick up all four today!