Aged for under four years in American oak casks, this rye is finished in maple syrup-cured whiskey barrels.
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 pot still without instructions, he distilled his first batch of vodka using apple scraps from a nearby orchard in the Hudson Valley.
Following the distillation of apples, Erenzo began experimenting with the distillation of whiskey. "Our first aged spirit was an experiment that turned out quite well indeed," he says. "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 Maple Cask Rye Whiskey is a limited-edition rye whiskey distilled from locally-sourced New York rye. Once the grains have been harvested, they are milled and mashed at the distillery before being twice distilled through a copper pot-still. Following distillation, the rye is aged in charred American oak casks for under four years. The walls of the warehouse in which the casks are laid to rest are lined with heaters that are powered by water from the distillery's stills. As a result, when the stills are running, the warehouse becomes incredibly warm, causing the oak casks to expand and interact with the whiskey. Each night, when the stills are dormant and the temperature cooler, bass speakers, which have been placed throughout the warehouse, play very deep bass music. The bass vibrates the barrels, agitating the whiskey and creating micro-expansions and contractions in the barrels themselves. This sonic aging process — unique in the industry — adds to the interaction of the wood and whiskey and results in a more robust flavor profile.
After its initial beauty rest in American oak casks, the rye whiskey is double-barreled, or finished, in maple syrup-cured whiskey barrels from a local Hudson Valley partner. This finishing process contributes rounded notes of maple syrup to the whiskey, and complements its notes of black tea, vanilla, rye toast and vanilla cream.
"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 is hand-made."
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92 (46% ABV)
Tuthilltown Spirits Co.
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Copper penny hue. Aroma of brown sugar and maple syrup. Notes of vanilla, black tea, maple syrup and caramel dominate the palate, and are complemented by a rye undertone. Finish is warming, with a touch of sweetness.