The whole craft whiskey craze is a lot of fun. There are some brilliant up-and-coming distilleries out there doing great things in a relatively short period of time. You have others that are doing a marvelous job at sourcing and even blending barrels. When I discover a new distillery, I get excited - that's my jam and I want to spread the word when it is deserved. Conversely, I want to also spread the word when there's something that should be avoided.
Recently, I was introduced to Taconic Distillery out of Standfordville, New York which has been around since 2016. Its founders are men and women who enjoy the outdoors and good whiskey and decided to pool their talents to create a whiskey of their own. Located in the Hudson Valley, it uses spring water sourced from nearby Rolling Hills Farm in the production process and uses standard, 53-gallon barrels from Independent Stave Company to age their whiskeys.
Today I'm reviewing Dutchess Private Reserve, a three-year Straight Bourbon they've distilled themselves. This Bourbon is bottled at 90° and is made from a mash of 70% corn, 25% rye and 5% malted barley. Distribution is currently in 16 states, and suggested retail is $43.99 for a 750ml bottle. I'd like to thank Taconic Distillery for providing me a sample of Dutchess Private Reserve in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.
How does Dutchess Private Reserve hold up? The only way to answer that is to #DrinkCurious...
In my Glencairn glass, this Bourbon appears as a clear, deep copper color. It left a thick rim on the wall that led to slow, fat legs that took their time crawling back to the pool.
Aromas of maple syrup and candied cherries were dominant. Going through my various nosing zones, I discovered vanilla and sweet corn, with a tiny hint of oak. Inhaling through my lips brought thick vanilla and butterscotch.
The initial sip had a soft, watery feel to it. A good Kentucky chew helped to coat my palate. Subsequent sips remained soft but it became much thinner. At the front, freshly baked vanilla sugar cookie was a welcomed start. Mid-palate converted that sweetness to honey and cherry pie filling. It also added a menthol flavor that was a bit off-putting as it was reminiscent of cherry cough syrup. On the back, it was a nice blend of rye spice and butterscotch.
The finish was confusing. At first, it was a quick in-and-out of spice. But, like the mouthfeel, additional sips changed things up. It became much longer, consisting of black pepper and oak.
Bottle, Bar or Bust: For the most part, I found Dutchess Private Reserve Bourbon to be interesting both on the nose and palate. I would love to see this aged a year or so longer, or perhaps available at a higher proof. Either of those could help reduce or eliminate the menthol quality, which was really the only thing I didn't enjoy. Value-wise, it is priced at the lower end of "craft" whiskeys, making it attractive. I believe Taconic Distillery has some good things going, but this one earns a Bar rating from me, and you should try it first before making a commitment. Cheers!