For nearly 220 years, the Tuthilltown Gristmill — located off Albany Post Road in Gardiner, New York — used waterpower to mill local grains into flour. In 2001. Ralph Erenzo acquired the property and together with a partner, converted one of the mill's granaries into a distillery. At the time, Erenzo had little experience distilling spirits. After purchasing a furnace from eBay and a German copper-pot still that arrived without instructions, Erenzo attempted to distill a batch of vodka using apple scraps from a nearby apple-slicing plant in the Hudson Valley.
Soon thereafter, Tuthilltown Spirits began experimenting with whiskey. "Our first aged spirit was an experiment that turned out quite well indeed," says Erenzo. "And since we are a small batch shop, we can change direction overnight. We also realized early that whiskey was coming back, in particular the interest in straightforward aged spirits; people are just tired of the same old thing. And we copied no one."
Hudson Manhattan Rye Whiskey is the first rye whiskey to be distilled in New York since Prohibition. It is made exclusively from rye grains that are harvested by farmers situated less than ten miles from the distillery. After the grains arrive, they are milled and mashed at the distillery before being fermented for nearly a week. Following fermentation, the rye is distilled twice through Tuthilltown Spirits' 800-liter, hand-assembled German copper-pot still.
After distillation, the whiskey is poured into 3-gallon and 14-gallon charred American oak casks. The casks are then laid to rest within a warehouse that is lined with heaters that power the distillery's stills. As a result, when the stills are running during the day, the warehouse becomes incredibly hot, causing the oak casks to expand and interact with the whiskey. In addition, each night, when the stills are dormant and the temperature cooler, speakers, which have been placed throughout the warehouse, play loud rap music with deep bass. The deep bass agitates the whiskies, and causes the barrels themselves to experience micro-expansions and contractions. This sonic aging process — unique in the industry — adds to the interaction between the oak and the whiskey.
After a slumber of up to two years, each batch of Hudson Manhattan Rye Whiskey is brought to proof, before each bottle is filled, sealed and numbered by hand.
Hudson Manhattan Rye earned the Silver Medal at the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and earned a score of 90-95 points from Wine Enthusiast. "We're not making whiskey the 'traditional' way, as defined for 80 years by the big whiskey producers," says Erenzo. "We are making it the way their grandfathers made it. We do all the work, hands-on, from scratch. All of our product are handmade."
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92 (46% ABV)
Tuthilltown Spirits Co.
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Sold and shipped by Bourbon Street Wine & Spirits.
Aroma of sweet maple syrup, allspice and cinnamon. Notes of spicy rye, oak, mint and cinnamon which lead to a spunky, spicy finish.