Earlier this month, our team was lucky enough get a behind-the-scenes peek of Hillrock Estate Distillery. The distillery is nestled deep in the rolling hills of the Hudson Valley at the historic 200-year-old Hillrock Estate. The estate, originally built in 1806 by a Revolutionary War Captain, was restored in 2006 by the current owner, Jeff Baker. An avid enthusiast of fine spirits, Baker teamed up with Master Distiller and whiskey legend, Dave Pickerell, to produce one of the nation's first estate grown whiskeys.
Arguably the most important factor for making a great whiskey is the quality of the grain used. Similar to fine estate wineries, Hillrock uses their estate grains, naturally farmed and harvested on Hillrock’s estate and surrounding farms without the use of pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers. By raising their grain, Hillrock highlights the subtle nuances between their spirits, showcasing a unique terroir that is an exceptional representation of Hudson Valley spirits.
Here's what we tasted that day:
Hillrock Estate Distillery Single Malt Whiskey - Hillrock’s flagship whiskey is one of the first single malt whiskeys produced in New York since Prohibition. It is made with barley exclusively grown at the estate and is malted at the Hillrock Malthouse.
Dark amber in color. The texture is rich with strong notes of malt and vanilla on the nose. Traces of honey, caramel and butterscotch appear and are complimented by chewy notes of cinnamon, oak, and woody spices. Finish is everlasting and pleasantly spicy.
Hillrock Estate Distillery Double Cask Rye Whiskey: Made with their organic estate rye, this is a limited bottled whiskey that has been double-barreled, or finished, in secondary casks.
Rich amber color with notes of sweet black cherry and dried currants dominate the nose. This whiskey is hot and heavy on the palate with spicy cinnamon and rye flavors. The finish is satisfyingly complex, with oak coming through clearly with more rye and berry notes.
Hillrock Estate Distillery Solera Aged Bourbon Whiskey: This is the first and only Solera aged bourbon produced in the world. Solera aging is a common practice for aging rums. It involves blending in younger spirit with older spirit to ensure consistent product from year to year.
Corn is immediately detected on the nose followed by more complex notes of raisins, root beer, and light honey. Smooth on the palate with long finishing flavors of honey, vanilla and oak.