About Hillrock Double Cask Rye Whiskey (Sauternes Cask Finished)
Hillrock Estate Double Cask Rye Whiskey was created by Pickerell from small batches of organically grown rye that are harvested from the Hillrock Estate. Once the rye has been harvested, it is mashed and fermented, before being distilled through Pickerell's custom-made, 250-gallon copper-pot still. The still, which was built in Kentucky to Pickerell's exact specifications, gives the distiller extraordinary control over the character and quality of the whiskey produced.
Following distillation, the rye whiskey is matured in traditional charred oak casks before being double-barreled, or finished, in secondary casks. This expression — the Hillrock Double Cask Rye Whiskey Sauternes Finish — employs French Sauternes wine casks. This way the spicy rye gets additional notes of dried fruit and citrus, resulting in a delicately balanced and unique whiskey.
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In the early 1800's, the State of New York was responsible for the production of more than half of the barley and rye harvested in the United States. The Hudson Valley, which extends from New York City northward through Albany, was the country's original breadbasket and was home to thousands of farms, hundreds of which distilled the excess grains they harvested into whiskey. In the 1930s, the onset of Prohibition forced these farmers to abandon their stills.
Today, in a 19th-century Georgian mansion situated in the heart of the Hudson Valley, Master Distiller Dave Pickerell pays homage to the New York farmers who produced their whiskey from grains to glass. Pickerell, who graduated from West Point with a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry, served in the military for 11 years as a cavalry officer before receiving his Master's Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Louisville. Pickerell then served as Master Distiller as Maker's Mark in Loretto, Kentucky for 13 years. There, he was responsible for ensuring the quality and consistency of Maker's Mark Bourbon. A former chairman of the Kentucky Distillers Association and a member of the Distilled Spirits Council, Pickerell is an expert nonpareil in the production of whiskey.
As American as the bald eagle, rye whiskey was first brewed in the American Northeast in the 1600s. Even George Washington distilled it after leaving the Oval Office, so there’s no way of denying its origin.
It’s distinguished from bourbon for its original and unique spicy notes.
By law, rye whiskey must be made from at least 51% rye grain, aged in new and charred oak barrels for at least two years, and bottled at no more than 62,5% ABV.
Check out our impressive selection of rye whiskeys, find your new favorites in The best-reviewed rye whiskeys, and explore our treasury of Best rye bottles under $100.