Nearly 50 years ago, Derek Grout's grandparents purchased a farm in New York's Hudson Family and began growing apples. Grout grew up on the farm with his parents, and tended to the soil as the farm slowly expanded from 40 acres to over 200. Today, the Golden Harvest Farm's 20,000 apple trees produce many more apples than the Grout's can actually sell. "You can make pies, donuts, or you can freeze them," says Grout, of the extra apples that he harvests each year, "but they're never quite as good as fresh. And cold storage costs you money."
Over six years ago, Grout began experimenting with the distillation of his excess apples and gave birth to Harvest Spirits. "I don't know any other way of processing an apple where the apple pays its own rent," says Grout.
Harvest Spirits' Cornelius Applejack is made from apples harvested exclusively at Golden Harvest Farm. Once the apples have been pressed (no neutral grain spirits are used in the production of the applejack), the pulp is fermented with a strain of yeast commonly used to produce Champagne. After the apple cider has fermented for a week, the wash is distilled three times through Grout's hybrid, copper-pot and column still. Following distillation, the applejack is matured for over two years in barrels that were previously used to age Woodford Reserve Bourbon, before each cask is brought to proof and bottled by hand. Each bottle of Cornelius Applejack is made using over 60 pounds of fresh, New York apples.
Cornelius Applejack has an aroma of honey and vanilla that is complimented by the sweet scent of fresh apples. The initial flavors of caramel and butterscotch are similar to bourbon, and give way to lighter notes of fruit and a hint of cinnamon and spice.
Harvest Spirits' Rare Pear Brandy is made from pears that are sourced from neighboring farms in New York's Hudson Valley. For instance, in 2010, Grout purchased a bin of pears from New York farmer and former governor Eliot Spitzer in exchange for a case of Harvest Spirits. After the pears have been pressed and fermented, the pear pulp is distilled through Grout's custom still. By utilizing only the short-column of the still, however, Grout is able to preserve the intense notes of pear in the brandy, while removing any impurities. Following distillation, the brandy is matured for two years in new, charred American oak barrels.
Rare Pear Brandy has a floral, fruity nose with smooth notes of baked pear and lush fruit. Subtle touches of orange zest add complexity to the body, and lead to an elegant and crisp finish.
Harvest Spirits' Cornelius Applejack earned the Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2010, while Harvest Spirits Rare Pear Brandy earned the Gold Medal during the same competition. In addition, Cornelius Applejack earned a score of 90 points from the Beverage Tasting Institute while Rare Pear Brandy earned the Bronze Medal at the American Distilling Institute Competition in 2013.
"Every morning when I walk in I'm hit with the smell," says Grout. "Slightly alcoholic, slightly funky, definitely oaky. It's a place with potential, the potential to make something that's really brilliant." Try a brilliant applejack and pear brandy today!
80 (40% ABV) each
Harvest Spirits Farm Distillery Farm Distillery
This product is not available in AL, AK, AR, CO, DE, FL, HI, IA, ID, IL, KS, KY, LA, MA, MN, MD, MS, NC, ND, NH, PA, SD, TX, VA, WA or WI.
Sold and shipped by Andrew's Wine Cellar, Inc.
Applejack: Aroma of apples, honey and vanilla. Initial flavors are reminiscent of bourbon - caramel, butterscotch, honey and toffee - and are complemented by a sweet touch of apple. Flavors fade to cinnamon and spice notes that linger.