By Jake Emen
The newly launched Millbrook Distillery — brand new, in fact, officially opened at the end of 2013 — aims at celebrating the rich history of the Hudson Valley in New York. Indeed, their Dutchess Private Reserve straight bourbon whiskey is named for Dutchess County, New York, and it’s made with natural spring water sourced from Rolling Hills Farm, also in the Hudson Valley.
On the green label of a bottle from Millbrook Distillery, you’ll find a drawing of Copper, a foxhound who was named after the copper Holstein still used by the distillery. Cute, but a historical homage nonetheless. The origin of foxhounds in the United States can be traced back to an English hunter by the name of Robert Brooke, who settled in the Hudson Valley in the 1650s. George Washington, who had a home in the Hudson Valley and was himself a whiskey producer, purchased his own foxhound from the Brooke family a century or so later. Some century and a half after that, foxhounds remained notable for helping alarm moonshiners when the government was closing in on their operations.
So, for whiskey and foxhounds both, Hudson Valley ties run deep. Millbrook also currently produces a barrel strength whiskey, and will release a rye whiskey later in 2014.
Dutchess Private Reserve offers a rather sweet nose, with corn and cereal grain, as well as vanilla. On the palate, you’ll find a bourbon made for sipping, eminently enjoyable and easygoing. Very smooth, with more vanilla, honey, and a malty sweetness.
The finish is pleasant and warm, lingering without overstaying its welcome. The bourbon is very consistent throughout. Add ice and the bourbon becomes chewier, with more pronounced grain flavors and a shorter, sharper finish.
Dutchess Private Reserve is bottled at 90 proof (45% abv), definitely a bourbon worth trying if you can get your hands on it, and particularly as the first release of an outfit which has just opened its doors, it hits high marks.
Millbrook’s Dutchess Private Reserve bourbon currently has a limited distribution in outlets in New York state, at a suggested price of $37.50. If you’re lucky, you’ll pop into one of the several bars and liquor stores in Brooklyn or Manhattan that carry the bourbon, and find it on the shelf.
Editor’s Update Note: According to Millbrook Distillery, they have Holstein copper and are currently in the process of producing and aging whiskey. They intend to add a column still as well. However, this first bourbon release is a sourced product cut with local water and bottled on-site.