Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by the party behind it. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link in this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
A new aged whiskey release from Hudson Whiskey recently rolled off the bottling line. We’re taking a look as this new spirit from the reconceptualized distillery in Gardiner, NY.
Hudson Whiskey traces its heritage back to the Tuthilltown Gristmill, which was built in 1788 by Selah Tuthill. The mill was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. At the time, it was known for producing kosher flour for the Jewish community in New York City. In 2003, father and son Ralph and Gable Erenzo (Gable passed away young in 2021) established the Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery on the site, becoming the first commercial whiskey maker in the state of New York since Prohibition. Their early efforts helped ease restrictions for distilleries, and New York alone boasts almost 200 craft distillers today.
These days the distillery and brand are owned by William Grant & Sons, a Scottish whisky distiller and distributor. The company purchased the brand in 2010 and completed the acquisition of the distillery in 2017. Brendan O’Rourke is the Chief Distiller and Operations Manager.
The distillery sits on a 36-parcel in the Hudson Valley near the Shawangunk Mountains. The visitor center includes a shop, tasting room, and cocktail bar, with a restaurant in the works.
Under the new ownership, the brand has pivoted to longer-aging the whiskeys, such as this five-year-old release, while still focusing on locally sourced grains from family farms in the Hudson Valley. The brand was enlivened with a packaging redesign that takes inspiration from the NYC subway system’s bold font and styling.
The regular line up includes Bright Lights, Big Bourbon, which is a straight bourbon whiskey; Do The Rye Thing, a straight rye whiskey named in honor of Spike Lee’s film “Do the Right Thing”; Short Stack, a rye finished in Vermont maple syrup barrels and presumably named in reference to an order of pancakes; and Back Room Deal, a rye finished in their own ex-bourbon barrels after their use finishing peated whiskey in Scotland. Four Part Harmony is a newer four-grain bourbon aged for a minimum of seven years.
The Hudson Whiskey Five-Year-Old New York Straight Bourbon was aged for five years in new American oak barrels. The producer describes the whiskey as showcasing a “buttery blend of vanilla, citrus, and corn bread on the nose, with notes of cashew butter and caramel on the palate.”
This release is in celebration of their 20-year anniversary, according to O’Rouke. In keeping with the history of the gristmill, this whiskey is kosher certified.
Tasting Notes: Hudson Whiskey Five-Year-Old New York Straight Bourbon
Vital Stats: Aged for five years in new American oak, 46% ABV, mash bill: 95% corn and 5% malted barley, SRP $49.99/ 750ml bottle.
Appearance: Moderate golden amber with brown undertone.
Nose: The spirit is lively at first whiff, with notes of Triscuit crackers, heavily toasted walnuts, roasted meat, and cornhusks. On revisiting the nose, the aromatics are grain-forward like boiled oats or toasted bread. On the sweet side, the nose is custardy like stracciatella ice cream and banana pudding. There is a rich, yeasty aroma like baking bread. It settles in and quickly becomes the dominant aroma.
Palate: On the palate, the spirit is moderate to full in body with an oily texture and a slight zing to the alcohol. Flavor-wise, there is an overwhelming note, more like eating raw bread dough than drinking beer. The yeast and raw grain notes are powerful and quickly overwhelm.
The finish is moderately long with notes of nutritional yeast, vitamin pills, and chocolate covered cherries. A dash of water brings out a note of vanilla cream, but leaves the yeastiness. This really needs something to counter-balance the raw dough note, perhaps it would do well in a salty or smoky cocktail.