By Richard Thomas
Breuckelen Distilling, with its spin on spelling “Brooklyn,” was started by Brad Estabrooke, a former securities trader at Deutsche Bank. Similar to the origin stories of many craft distilleries, Estabrooke left a white collar career that had nothing to do with the booze business to get into spirits making. If that sounds peculiar and predestined to failure, keep in mind the same is basically true of many of the most successful micro-distilleries around, and skills like finance, sales and marketing are just as important as engineering and chemistry in the spirits trade.
Estabrooke found an old boiler room to use as a space at 77 19th Street (why his whiskeys are “77”) and got stared in 2010. His 77 Rye Whiskey is made from a mash of 90% rye and 10% corn, using added enzymes and no malted barley; fermented using non-GMO yeast; and distilled in a 400-liter, copper Kothe hybrid still. The whiskey was aged for just shy of a year, and bottled at 90 proof.
“When we started back in 2010 and decided we would use new York grown grains there wasn’t an option for local malt,”says Estabrooke. “Now there are a few malt houses in the northeast, and we have used their malt in our new line of Project whiskeys.”
In the glass, the whiskey has the expected orange-copper Rye color, and drops a few skinny tears. The nose is predominately pumpernickel, with a whiff of mustiness, perhaps even moldiness, and a tinge of juniper.
A sip shows it to definitely be a young whiskey, because it’s a bit medicinal around the edges, but it’s not harsh. A straightforward profile blends caramel and rye spice for a sweet start, before the whiskey turns dry at the end. The finish continues as dry and a bit spicy.
So, it’s young and pretty straightforward, but with enough of a twist to keep it just a little interesting. A pour of this makes for some very easy drinking in just about any format: neat, on the rocks, mixer, cocktails, etc.
Breuckelen 77 Rye fetches between $43 and $50 with online retailers.