We’re peeling back the years as we sit down with a 2 year old rye whisky from the New York Distilling Company. Bottled as part of the Boutique-y Whisky Company series you’ve got to hand it to them for going out beyond the comfortable and well stocked confines of Scotland.
Recently on Malt we’ve been in Japan with their 21 year old blended whisky, in the mountainous region of Bavaria with a Slyrs whisky -later today – and in the forests of Sweden with a Mackmyra 3 year old. All pretty solid stuff with a few surprises and certainly food for thought as to what’s happening across Europe and beyond. We’re not forgetting our friends in North America as for this review we’re heading to the Big Apple and specifically Brooklyn with its New York Distilling Company.
Despite being founded back in 1987, this distillery is a new target on my radar which admittedly seems more Scotch focused with a slant on historical releases. Needless to say it’s good to see what the young distilleries are producing. Especially with this new craft hands on ethic that we’re starting to see creeping into Scotland. For the NYDC despite an early start in the 1980’s its only now just celebrated the bottling of its 5 year old Ragtime rye whiskey with a 6th anniversary distilling party. No doubt it was a great party in Brooklyn on December 5th that also heralded the 84th anniversary of the repealing of Prohibition. Imagine being legally unable to purchase or drink whiskey.
For those of you wondering if a 2 year old whiskey can actually be a worthwhile purchase then I’ll retell my tale from Islay. Having visited several distilleries and had a wonderful time during the annual festival. The best whisky I had during our visit was something legally that could not be called whisky. Around 2 years old it was straight from the cask – the best way to do it – and a wonderful marriage of spirit and a superb ex-bourbon barrel. Moments such as these confirm age isn’t the be all and end all. However, there needs to be a confidence from distilleries to state the age – even if its in single digits – rather than wrap up a bottle in gobbledygook about legends and traditions. If its good enough, I don’t care how old it is!
Whilst the NYDC offer a range of gins distilled in Brooklyn, the main interest is around their Ragtime rye whiskey. Utilising rye grown in New York state at the Pederson family farm, the spirit is matured in 53 gallon sized barrels unlike several other fledgling American distilleries that prefer to use smaller casks to accelerate the maturation process. The mashbill is 72% rye, 16% corn and 12% malted barley – very likely the same recipe we’re going to be sitting down with for this Boutique-y release. We’re not of the gin persuasion here at Malt, but the NYDC’s Chief Gowanus Netherland gin is the same raw spirit as their rye whiskey but is then thrown back into the stills for a 3rd distillation with juniper berries and cluster hops followed by 3 months in an oak barrel. An interesting detour perhaps?
Credit to Boutique-y for their recent switch to age statements. Since their debut several years ago now, they’ve built up an impressive inventory of whiskies from across the globe released in limited batches. It’s been difficult to keep up with these releases in all honesty, but a recent Boutique-y tasting with Dave in Edinburgh was an instant refresher. This particular NYDC is bottled at 53% and will set you back around £37.95 for a 50cl bottle, or £53.13 for a 70cl price comparison. This batch 1 release is limited to 600 bottles and features another funky label with the whiskey being finished in an Apple Jack cask, which is essentially an apple brandy hence the hint below.
New York Distilling Company 2 Year Old – review
On the nose: a varnish quality, play-dough, black pepper corns and cinder toffee. A coarse vanilla scrapping follows and spearmint.
In the mouth: it lacks the power and urgency I’d expect from a 2 year old whiskey at this strength. The finish is long with a touch of pepper and aniseed. Arrival some youthfulness from the alcohol on the fringes and then a gentle assortment of apple juice, cinnamon and molten caramel.
Interesting and very inoffensive. I suppose that’s the point ultimately as you like your rye whiskies to deliver flavour with aplomb and here its rather subdued and leisurely. Still, for being just 2 years old there’s a certain respect that must be afforded to this release. Perfectly drinkable and at a price that doesn’t destroy the bank balance either. Not bad, just needs longer.
My thanks to the Boutique-y Whisky Company for the sample and photograph