Updated September 7, 2017
By Randall H. Borkus
Taconic Distillery (formerly known as Millbrook Distillery) is found in the rolling hills of Dutchess County in the Hudson Valley in New York. That word “taconic” was transliterated as the Taghkanic or Taughannock, meaning “in the trees,” and used as the name of a Lenape chieftain.
The founders of Taconic Distillery, Gerald Valenti and Paul “PJ” Coughlin, are fervent outdoorsmen and Dutchess County residents who imagined marrying their life passions for the great outdoors and whiskey which led to the Taconic Distillery. The Coughlin family purchased part of Laufred Farms in Stanfordville, NY, a former beef farm, and renamed it Rolling Hills Farm in 2010. The farm’s 113 acres of rolling hills became the inspiration for Taconic Distillery’s entrance to Dutchess County’s local agribusiness market. Their gratifying creations start with whiskey of which I’m a big fan. Taconic Distillery’s tasting room is located in the heart of Dutchess County and is open Saturdays from noon to 6 pm and Sundays from noon to 5 pm.
Making whiskey means having used barrels leftover, and anyone with a thrifty frame of mind is looking for either a second use or to resell those barrels. Taconic went for the former, and I had the pleasure of enjoying a breakfast treat compliments of that reuse: a bottle of Organic Barrel Bourbon Aged Maple Syrup and Single Barrel French Roast Coffee.
Organic Barrel Bourbon Aged Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is always welcome at the breakfast table and organic maple syrup especially, because it offers many benefits over the more processed options. It has higher nutritional value, there’s no artificial color, ingredients, or additives, it is naturally gluten free and high in anti-oxidants. What’s not to love about the simple sugars found in oak and marrying that to those found in the sugar maple tree’s sap? The Taconic Distillery Organic Barrel Bourbon Aged Maple Syrup is a Grade A dark Amber maple syrup aged in the coveted Dutchess Private Reserve Bourbon used barrels.
The nose is inviting with an expected maple sweetness and hints of vanilla and caramel. The mouthfeel is of course syrupy and flooded with maple sweetness that bursts with a vanilla-caramel bomb on my tongue. I confess I double down with an additional syrupy pour on my pancakes. The Maple flavor coated my mouth and continued to open. The finish is a gratifying blend of maple sweetness married with vanilla, caramel and distinct hints of the used oak barrel. I will be ordering duet syrup for my home as everyone in my family enjoyed this Maple flavor experience.
You can find a pair of bottles of organic bourbon barrel Maple syrup for $40.00 which includes shipping at the Taconic Distillery website.
Single Barrel French Roast Coffee
Single Barrel French Roast is green coffee beans from Columbia, aged in a bourbon barrel and then roasted to perfection in New York just for Taconic Distillery by Coffee Labs Roasters in Tarrytown. Coffee Labs has added Taconic Distillery to a list of creative collaborations with local brewers like Peekskill and Sloop brewing.
This Single Barrel French Roast Coffee aging process led to a full-bodied, intensely dark, and complex café experience after roasting the aged beans. This is a deeply rich coffee with an intense nose full of smoky-sweetness with hints from the bourbon barrel resting vessel. The flavor holds a pleasant smoky, dark fruit note, intense vanilla overtone and the oak barrel sweetness. The finish opens with a touch of oak spice and notes of vanilla and Carmel making for a complex brew of pure pleasure.
You can find this Single Barrel French Roast Coffee in 12 oz bags, whole bean or ground, for $20.00 a bag shipping included at the Taconic Distillery website.
*Correction: Taconic Distillery is no longer working with Coffee Labs.