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Issue 109 - A Good Bassy Tone

Whisky Magazine Issue 109
February 2013


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A Good Bassy Tone

Ian Buxton meets the team behind Tuthilltown Spirits, a craft distillery on the rise

This is the story of a distillery which should have been a rock climbing centre. Or possibly a craft bakery. Which has survived a fire. Which ages its casks using rap music.

It is something of a poster boy for the burgeoning US craft distilling industry, having achieved the remarkable feat of working with one of the giants of the global distilling industry without being swallowed up by them.

Also it has won a host of awards in its short but exciting life and which – roll of drums please – will shortly be available in the UK.

So you could say that I have seen – and heard – whisky's future, and it rocks. Or, to be more precise, raps. I'm talking about Tuthilltown Spirits and the distillery in New York's Hudson Valley. I went there to learn about the exciting range of rye, bourbon and single malt whiskeys and its tie-up with William Grant & Sons. I didn't expect any of the other stuff.

But first, some facts. Tuthilltown is located about 75 miles due north of Manhattan island and is the first legal distillery in New York state since Prohibition. Incidentally, as I learned from the Tuthilltown team, there were more than 1,000 small farm distillers prior to that particular episode in NY State alone so perhaps the craft distilling movement has some way to go.

The local area is notable for its dramatic cliff formations and is a mecca for climbers. As a professional climber Ralph Erenzo moved here and bought a rundown farm property in 2001 with the aim of creating a climb...

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