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A Taste of Tuthilltown

by Gavin D Smith, 06/11

In 2008 we posted a major feature on Tuthilltown Spirits, New York State producer of whiskey and bourbon. So it is high time whisky-pages caught up with some of the bottlings in their current range.

In 1825 New York State boasted more than 1,000 distilleries producing a major share of the nation's whiskey. However, when it opened for business in 2005, Tuthilltown was New York's first distillery since the onset of prohibition in 1920. Such is the vigour of the micro-distilling boom in the USA that the number has now grown to around 20.

Based in a converted granary which adjoins a historic gristmill dating from 1788, Tuthilltown distillery is operated by Brian Lee and Ralph Erenzo, and is equipped with a 400-litre pot still. 2010 saw William Grant & Sons acquire the Hudson range of craft-distilled whiskeys from Tuthilltown Spirits, though the whiskey-making operation continues in the hands of its founders.

team Dipping a toe into the burgeoning American craft whiskey business represents a modest risk in terms of financial exposure for Grant's, but gives them a stake in an evolving and innovative sector. "Tuthilltown is run by two extraordinary pioneers, Ralph Erenzo (left of picture) and Brian Lee (seated front)," says Peter Gordon, Chairman of William Grant & Sons Ltd. "They have achieved something that nobody else has done in nearly 100 years - they've got a distilling license in New York State and are creating fantastic whiskeys again."

Tuthilltown's first product was Hudson Baby Bourbon, launched in 2006. It is a single grain Bourbon made from New York corn and aged in small American oak barrels to accentuate maturation. It is the first Bourbon to be made in New York, and the first legal pot-distilled whiskey to be produced there since prohibition. The Tuthilltown range also now includes Manhattan Rye Whiskey, New York Corn Whiskey and Hudson Four Grain Bourbon.

"Baby Bourbon is a fantastic liquid with a beautiful story," declares Peter Gordon. "It's perfect for the making of Manhattans - why not use the 'local' spirit?" Grant's Master Blender Brian Kinsman notes that "You get lots of oak character with Baby Bourbon, yet the spirit is still quite young. It's maturing at such a pace - in tiny casks. It's very exciting because it's on the edge of innovation. They're doing things very differently. They have a fascinating range of whiskeys which have caught the public imagination, and we have to nurture that."
Tuthilltown Spirits, Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey (USA)
Produced using 100 per cent New York State corn. The nose offers vanilla, pepper, slightly herbal, damp leaf notes, a big hit of cloves and spearmint with time. Toasted cereal notes when diluted. Smooth on the palate and drinkable, with lively spices, caramel and corn, then a drying, herbal note that lingers through the lengthy finish. Cloves make a late appearance. The addition of water teases out some light char. 46.0% ABV, 35cl, £46.49, The Whisky Exchange.
Tuthilltown Spirits, Hudson Four Grain Bourbon Whiskey (USA)
Made from corn, rye, wheat and malted barley. Cherries, marzipan and vanilla on the nose, with a touch of furniture polish and malted cereals. Mildly herbal. Mouth-coating, rounded and well balanced, with vanilla, charred oak and caramel. Spicy rye notes carrying through to the lengthy, lively oak finish. Adding water releases ginger, treacle and liquorice on the palate. 46.0% ABV, 35cl, £46.49, The Whisky Exchange.
Tuthilltown Spirits, Hudson Manhattan Rye Whiskey (USA)
Distilled from 100 per cent rye grains. Initially sweet, grainy, with starch and rye. ‘Greener’ than the distiller’s Bourbon, quite sharp and fresh with black pepper. A brief whiff of chimney soot, which settles to ginger and caramel. Water releases new leather and the aroma of wild flowers in bloom. Oily and prickly in the mouth, with citrus fruit, spice, cloves and fresh oak. The finish is medium in length with discreet vanilla and almonds, followed by contrasting wood char. 46.0% ABV, 35cl, £46.49, The Whisky Exchange.
Tuthilltown Spirits, Hudson New York Corn Whiskey (USA)
Essentially ‘new make’ Baby Bourbon. Cornflower, lanoline, un-waxed lemon peel and freshly-baked bread on the nose. Oily. More earthy with time. Pleasantly drying and surprisingly well-mannered on the palate, with cereal and spice notes, plus a hint of pineapple. Quite short and nutty in the finish, with a hint of brittle toffee. 46.0% ABV, 35cl, £46.49, The Whisky Exchange.

The Hudson range is available in the UK at £46.49 per 35cl bottle from
www.thewhiskyexchange.com.

Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery
14 Gristmill Lane
Gardiner
New York 12525
USA
  

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