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Spirits Review: Tuthilltown Hudson Single Malt Whiskey

by KeithP on May 3, 2011

theSpeakista and the Godfather recently went up state to visit Tuthilltown Spirits and we were not disappointed with the efforts to get there.  We took part in a distillery tour, sampled the wares and had an opportunity to chat with several folks who work at the plant.  All-in-all it was a fun, and educational journey.

Spirit Type: Single Malt Whiskey

Distillery: Tuthilltown Spirits

Additional Information: The whiskey is made from only single ground malted barley (no other grains are used) and aged in charred new oaks barrels. This is a departure from the normal scotch production process that employs used bourbon and/or sherry barrels for aging. The whiskey is bottled at 92 proof.

Tuthilltown bottles its spirits in 375ml bottles and are sealed with a heavy, almost too difficult to break/unseal layers of thick black wax.  The particular bottle used in this testing was purchased on site at the distillery for $41 and is Bottle 1,019, from Batch 1 of year 11.

Appearance: In the bottle the spirit is a deep tan-ish brown.  In the glass with a touch of water or over ice the color mutes to a slightly golden brown that clouds when chilled.

Aroma: At the outset the aroma is all grain … some what sweet in aroma, it builds in the glass to reveal a character similar to cereal in a bowl.  When chilled this aroma is quite prevalent.  I for one actually enjoy the aroma of grains and the strength of this is not unwelcomed at least to me. As the spirit warms in the glass the grain aroma mellows to reveal subtle hints of wood and interestingly, cut field grasses.

Taste: This is a really nice whiskey to drink, and it is a whiskey that should not be consumed with haste but rather savored over time.  Its relative youth, unlike its siblings, is not evident when sipped neat or with a splash of water.  It does become a bit “harsher” when chilled with ice and I would highly recommend serving/consuming it with just a splash of chilled, filtered water.  Tasted neat there is a faint sweetness with a strong dose of the barrel wood coming forth.  Dosed with a touch of water this wood character subsides revealing layers of sweetness including honey and rich almost syrup like notes against a backdrop of grains.  These open up as the spirit warms a little in the glass to reveal nicely textured notes of heather and oddly (but nicely) an almost flower like flavor.  I sampled this over two nights against two aged single malts (Highland Park 12 year and Cardhu 12 year) and found that it held up nicely against both of these – with a flavor profile that was not wholly unlike these two “ringers.”

In a drink: while it would be an expensive proposition to do so, this whiskey could replace any blended scotch on your counter (and be of better quality than most) used for mixing drinks and is a suitable replacement for use in drinks calling for a more aged, single malt.  For this review I tried a few classic and not so classic drinks and thought that I would settle on the ubiquitous Rob Roy as a way to highlight it but instead opted to use it in a drink that I think, was created by yours truly.  Originally designed with Highland Park 12 year in mind, The Edinburgh on the Hudson is to me a great platform for this spirit … it is lets the spirit’s relative youth guide the boat nicely with layered flavors.

Wrap-up: All-in-all I really enjoy this spirit – out of all of the Tuthilltown line of spirits (save their rum) I think it holds its relative youth, best in check.  It is a spirit that lends itself nicely to a splash of water (and chilled if you must … but you don’t need to do this) and a long, slow lingering stint in your glass by your side.  It is relatively expensive for its category — at a range of between mid-$30’s and up for 375ml it is clearly not on par, price-wise when compared to its Scottish kissing cousins.  You will likely find that you will treat this bottle as I have/will, as a sound investment to savor over time and not to be wasted.

theSpeakista’s Rating: 3 3/4 stars (out of five total)

For a different take and review of this spirit, feel free to check-out these write ups (here, here and here).

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