The Hudson Valley is quickly becoming a hotbed of distilling. Not only is Millbrook Distillery only the latest, but is already surpassed by two more distilleries yet to come. And in the big shouldered world of the Hudson Valley, no one needs a new bourbon. Outside of Kentucky, the Hudson Valley is already home to six very good bourbons. So muscling up will take some doing.
I first saw a bottle of Millbrook Distillery Dutchess Private Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey in a local liquor store. I wa curious. But my bourbon collection was already fairly full. Several thirsty guests later, I needed some bourbon. so I threw down my money in curiosity, having missed the opportunity to taste it at an earlier in-store tasting.
I had seen a snippet of one review from Maxim magazine, which read, “Seriously, this sauce is glorious straight sipping.” How bad could it be?
Millbrook Distillery is "headquartered at Paul Coughlin’s farm on Bowen Road in Stanfordville where rows of oak barrels are awaiting the next batch from the distillery. The barrels all bare the logo of a hound and the name Millbrook Distillery," wrote Stephen Kaye of The Millbrook Independent. "Coughlin and his partner Gerald Valenti share a love of the land; they both call themselves gentlemen farmers and both share a passion for good bourbon. They are both active in the distilling, blending, barreling, aging, bottling and selling. They are hands on. The hound in the logo is an American foxhound that is a pet in the Valenti household. Coughlin tells the story of how foxhounds, whose music is dear to foxhunters, were used during Prohibition to warn the owners of stills of strangers who had the unmistakable odor of a federal official. The hounds would set up a warning cry that could be heard through the hills."
So, while reading about Charles Dickens, I decided to crack the seal on this bourbon and pour some. I smelt it in the glass and tasted it. I then added a little ice. That's the way I like mine. I smelt it again. Tasted it again. Millbrook Distillery’s Dutchess Private Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey is crafted in small batches. They use the water that comes from a natural spring at Rolling Hills Farm, located in historic Hudson Valley, New York.
Dutchess Private Reserve has a lovely coppery color to it, or maybe like a gorgeous amber maple syrup. It starts off with a wonderful baked quality like cookies in the oven, butter, butterscotch, cookie dough, honey, vanilla, and lots of spice. It got a little bit of a bite up front, but goes down incredibly smoothly without a lot of burn. And it's definitely not as sweet as it smells. In fact, it's a beautiful, elegant, wonderful bourbon. Fantastic!
Move over everyone, the valley now has yet another superior bourbon!
I also leave you with one of Ms. Bramwell's cocktails:
The Foxhound 2 oz Millbrook Bourbon
1 1/2 oz sweet Vermouth
1 1/2 oz Campari
Use an orange slice as a garnish