View Full Version : Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey

06-26-2007, 05:42
Didn't want to Hijack BourbonJoe's thread on PVW 20 at shppersvineyard, so decided to start another. On the home page at shppersvineyard.com I noticed the subject bottle http://www.shoppersvineyard.com/tuthilltownhudson/tuthilltown-hudson-baby-bourbon-whiskey-33928.html (http://www.shoppersvineyard.com/tuthilltownhudson/tuthilltown-hudson-baby-bourbon-whiskey-33928.htmlI) I searched and found no reference to it. Has anyone tried this New York Bourbon? My curiosity is piqued.

06-26-2007, 06:16
Lenell's carries this, I'm sure you could call her store and ask. I've never tried it and at $32.99 a 375 I doubt I will.

Didn't want to Hijack BourbonJoe's thread on PVW 20 at shppersvineyard, so decided to start another. On the home page at shppersvineyard.com I noticed the subject bottle http://www.shoppersvineyard.com/tuthilltownhudson/tuthilltown-hudson-baby-bourbon-whiskey-33928.html (http://www.shoppersvineyard.com/tuthilltownhudson/tuthilltown-hudson-baby-bourbon-whiskey-33928.htmlI) I searched and found no reference to it. Has anyone tried this New York Bourbon? My curiosity is piqued.

06-26-2007, 07:04
Lenell's is no closer to me than Clifton NJ. If I ever get there I may pick it up...just because. Then again, I may not, but it's only money. And I don't think $33 is going to make me miss a mortgage payment. I get the feeling though, that if I did make my way to that store, there are many other offerings (that I can't get here) that would attract my attention instead.

06-26-2007, 07:48
Sorry, I was saying call LeNells to get their opinion on the contents. They have a helpful staff that in fact drinks the stuff they sell and can offer and educated opinion.

06-26-2007, 08:52
Oh okay, reading again, I get it now (sorry). I just visitied the Tuthilltown distillery website. It's a good story. At this point I don't think it's a matter of 'if I get it' as much as 'if I can find it'. Apparently the small batch releases sell quickly. (And I'm all about expanding my horizons)

08-27-2007, 10:49
I saw this yesterday at LeNell's and also at Canal's Discount Liquor Mart in Burlington, NJ. Canal's number is (609) 387-1541. Both were selling it for about $40 for 375ml, and I knew nothing about it so I took a pass. Please let me know if this stuff turns out to be good, as I may be back up in the NY/North Jersey area again in the near future.

08-27-2007, 13:55
I think there may be some taste notes in another thread. I seem to recall someone, I think it was Gary Gillman, saying that it tastes like what it is, a bourbon-mash distillate that has been aged for three months, i.e., a very young bourbon.

08-27-2007, 14:11
I had tastes from two bottles: one was the Manhattan rye (I think it was called), the other was labelled bourbon. Both had a similar, piney/resiny taste and nose. I would think this is a young distillate taste although it was so much like a wood sap effect I wonder if the spirit was absorbing some of this kind of gum from the small charred oak kegs used. It was an interesting taste and I want to support the efforts of a new distiller - the first I know of to release its own-make bourbon and rye in some 50 years. I think in time though a steady demand will likely require an older product (not all that much older, say around 2 years of age plus).


08-27-2007, 15:48
Is this just a corn whiskey? The discription states, "Hudson Baby Bourbon is made with 100% New York State corn." and "This is honest single-grain whiskey". Or am I reading too much into it?

08-27-2007, 17:57
Dale, this is not corn whiskey because it was aged, for long enough to be identified as bourbon, in new charred oak. A bourbon can be 100% corn (or a straight rye, 100% rye), provided distilled under 160 proof.

These were so distilled, and while very young, aged for a time in new charred wood, therefore, for long enough.


N. B. Dale: will we see you and Emily at KBF this year? I will not be attending the Gala but will be there for the Gazebos.

Aged In Oak
08-29-2007, 09:27
Funny that this thread should appear now. I was just on a road trip, and downloaded a bunch of archived episodes of The Whiskeycast to take with me (I just started listening recently). In one episode from last year he mentioned a new distiller in upstate New York for which LeNell's would be one of the retailers. No name was mentioned, and I was going to ask the board if anyone knew about it. I'm assuming this is what he was talking about, unless we're lucky enough to have TWO new distilleries! :grin:

08-29-2007, 20:38
Nope, that's definitely it. LeNell, as is her wont, was probably very instrumental in even getting them to make this product.

I'm pretty sure they also make corn whiskey and have been doing that for some time.

The essential difference between something being called corn whiskey or bourbon is the charred oak barrel. It can be corn whiskey in every other respect, but if you age it in charred oak, it's bourbon, not corn whiskey.

11-30-2007, 18:07
I picked up a bottle today and will try to give an opinion soon. Purchased on Clifton, NJ for $36. I honestly didn't think $36 was too bad for a small batch. If it turns out to be bad, I can always console myself by thinking I can spend $10 bucks in tolls just to get to NYC.

11-30-2007, 19:06
I just had some of the four grain iteration and enjoyed it. It is not called baby bourbon, just Four Grain Bourbon, but it does not seem that old. It has a piney-like taste backed with some good bourbon barrel flavors. I prefer the taste to the nose. I do believe this kind of whiskey hearkens back to the very origins of bourbon, when much of it was not aged that long.


08-28-2008, 06:43
I picked up a bottle of Baby Bourbon and a bottle of their Rye while passing through Albany last week. Yes, it is pricey, but I wanted to check out their work and encourage this type of behavior.

It is quite young, but not bad at all. I will get back with some notes after I get through the bottles.

Of course there are way better bottles to drop $35 on, but this is something new and different, and hence fun to try.


08-28-2008, 10:28
I look forward to reading your impressions, Mike. If I could buy this stuff from Binny's I would have, long ago.

09-12-2008, 14:02
Hudson Baby Bourbon
92 proof
2008 Batch 3 Bottle 507

Nose: Mint and Vanilla with a (good) muskiness

Taste: Sweet, a little bitey. Has a pine resin/juniper flavor that reminds me a lot of Woodford Reserve. I wonder if this flavor comes from the pot still? Body is light to medium. Faint caramel.

Finish: Sweet, medium length

Overall: A pleasant bourbon. Definitely young, but not bad at all. There are many better bourbons out there for the price, but there are a lot worse ones too, and by distilleries that have been at it for decades. It was fun to try something totally different and these guys might end up with an outstanding product down the road.

The Manhattan Rye has similar impressions, but it had a much stronger and richer nose, and the flavor was also more full bodied, stong, and spicy. A lint of cotton candy.

09-12-2008, 14:17
I agree about the pine notes, Mike, excellent review.


09-12-2008, 15:54
Here's a good place to explore some of my issues with these products. You have tasted this product and like it. Does it matter to you that it was made using no malt of any kind in the mash? The mash was 100% corn and they used commercial enzymes, not malted barley, not malted corn, not malted anything. Just enzymes. Do you care?

Because of the enzymes, and its youth, the European Union won't even let them call it whiskey. Possibly they can use the word Bourbon in Europe but not Whiskey. Do you agree with the EU's standards, or don't you care?

09-12-2008, 20:18
I do not care (very much) because a ferment can take place without addition of any malted barley. It may not be efficient, but old-time distillers could get a fermentation without malt if they had to. This being so, why would it matter if a boost was obtained with a little chemical help? I don't see the difference between this and chemically treating water, for example, something which craft brewers do as a matter of course where needed. Malting is itself a short-cut, a primitive way to create enzyme in sufficient quantity. The EU's definition of whisky is the result of a specific historical background to whiskey production there. It should not drive what I think of as whiskey in a North American context. I think whisky (or Scotch whisky) must be aged 3 years; straight bourbon is good whiskey after two. Horses for courses..


09-12-2008, 21:09
Had a pour of the Manhattan rye tonight. I enjoyed it a lot. Definitely the better of the two, no question.

Now to your question Chuck. My first gut answer is yes, I do care. Tradition is important. If you do it totally different, is it still bourbon? Or whiskey? My second thought is who cares? If you get your enzymes via natural process or chemicals, what does it matter? However, I do recall a discussion on one of the forums a while back that decided that malted barley gave a superiour flavor and body when compared to purely chemically introduced enzymes.

Distilleries (and most businesses) have altered their traditional processes over the years and generally to save time/money, and not always to improve quality. I would not want to see this practice find its way into main stream bourbon distillation and further reduce the flavor of our fine beverage.


09-13-2008, 04:29
For my part again, just to clarify, I meant to say old-time distillers could get a mash without use of malted cereals, if they had to: not an ideal situation, but if necessary they could. (They could get a ferment without adding yeast, too).

Just to clarify, I found the palate of the bourbon more interesting than it was good. It is a young product, a little feisty and raw. I agree with Mike the rye is better.

I view the first bottlings of the bourbon as experimental. This smalll operation is trying different things and still finding its way. In time it has the potential to release some excellent craft bourbon. This will occur I think if it is able to age bourbon for omeyears rather than months (and rye too).


09-13-2008, 19:40
For my part again, just to clarify, I meant to say old-time distillers could get a mash without use of malted cereals, if they had to: not an ideal situation, but if necessary they could. (They could get a ferment without adding yeast, too).

The second statement is true, because yeast are always in the enviornment and if you set out a mash, it will ferment.

The first statement, however, is false. A tub of ground cereal and water will not mash and will not ferment, not in a million years.

And the use of industrial enzymes instead of malt is not inefficient, just the opposite. It is extremely efficient. The enzymes used were developed for the paper pulp industry.

09-13-2008, 19:58
I was saying that mashing without the use of malted cereals was (no doubt) inefficient, not mashing with the addition of enzyme.

For the statement that a mash can be made without use of malt, I had in mind Byrn's Complete Practical Distiller. At p. 77:

"It often happens that distillers are in want of malt; they are then forced to distill their raw grain without it. To obviate a little the inconveniences of this way of working, they add, during the mashing, a quantity of chaff. They attribute to this chaff a property analagous to that of malt - that of giving lightness to their matter. It has been ascertained that chaff has this property, if not of saccharifying fecula converted into paste, at least to render it fluid, and make it more attackable by the saccharifying agents".

Byrn goes on to state that chaff is sometimes even used with malt.


09-13-2008, 20:15
Mashing without the use of malted cereals is not inefficient, it is impossible.

More to the point, saccharification of grain starch does not occur except through enzymes and prior to the development of industrial enzymes, the only source of the necessary enzymes was malt in some form. Or human saliva.

Chaff means husks, insoluble solids that are introduced to help the starches dissolve, which is a necessary first step in mashing, since only starches that have been dissolved can be converted. Chaff cannot aid saccharification unless Byrn's chaff also mysteriously contains enzymes.

"For want of" may mean "not enough," in which case saccharification would be inefficient, but no enzymes, no saccharification and no fermentation. Yeast is powerless on starch.

Cytase breaks down starch cells. Diastase works on starch to sugar conversion. Diastase is two enzymes, Amylase, which converts starch to dextrine, and Dextrinase, which converts dextrine to sugar.

Again, I fear I'm doing a poor job of explaining myself.

09-13-2008, 20:22
I am no expert, I am just taking what Byrn says at face value, he says distillers if necessary can distill "raw grain" without malt. More than this I cannot say except it is my understanding that raw grains (especially rye) do contain some enzyme, perhaps the fluidification assisted by the chaff allows this small amount of enzyme to do its work. I assumed this was an old distiller's trick, something to be done in a pinch.


09-13-2008, 22:36
What you do in a pinch is try to make some malt. Any grain will germinate and that creates the enzymes. The enzymes in malted barley work best but malted rye will work. It's theoretically possible to malt corn but I don't know anyone who has done it.

Even in Byrn's day, most distillers depended on commercially prepared malt and had to scramble if that wasn't available. If you don't have enough enzymes, the conversion won't be complete. If you have no enzymes you won't have any conversion and you won't have any fermentation.

I'm no expert either, but I am relying on slightly more recent sources than Byrn.

09-14-2008, 04:39
Byrn is fairly sophisticated albeit writing in 1870 and I am assuming he is, as the title of the book suggests, speaking of his actual experience performing distillation and working with distillers. He also gives a specific ratio of chaff to raw grain: 3-4 pounds of latter "per quintal of raw grain", he says.

In thinking about this further, I was reading up on mashing techniques, and in a home distiller site written where such distilling is lawful, it is mentioned that steeping takes about 3 days. This is not all that long, really. The discussion also states that malt does not have to be dried, it can be kept entirely under water and is thus termed "green malt". Here is the discusssion:


The statement is also made that the green malt grain can be difficult to grind but will provide enzymatic power (i.e., it will have sprouted enough to active amylase in the grain). Air greatly assists the malting process but is not strictly necessary.

Note too the statement that green malt is not suitable for malt whisky because it can impart an off-taste but is suitable for "bourbon" since it is not the base of the mash, of course.

I think when Byrn's distillers had no barley malt, they simply let their mash sit longer than normal (what's a couple of extra days?) so that some of the grain became green malt and this was assisted by the chaff which as he says promotes liquefication of the starch. This probably came about since the chaff separated the grains and allowed water to penetrate better the sleeve of the grains. When Byrn states that you can mash without using malt, maybe he meant "real malt", i.e., malt normally dried and processed for addition in the normal way. His unground green malt in the tun, if that is what it was, may have been sufficient to convert some of the glucose and dextrines to alcohol, even though not ground. This would have been an inefficient process, not very commercial, but done where necessary, I infer. I infer too it was (the chaff thing and long resting in water if done) a trick of the trade, something too which might stretch back to the artisan origins of whisky-making. For example, when mashing was first performed in Celtic lands, did the farmers always prepare a malt first? It would be interesting sociologically and historically to know if beverage beer was available everywhere where whisky first emerged.

The standard recipes in Byrn to make whisky all call for barley malt, then as now the standard practice. I was simply alluding to a way I've read about which seems to produce a workable mash without using a conventionally prepared malt.


N.B. At pages 63-68 of Byrn's book, he describes grain mashing, which he states entails 3 steps: grinding, steeping, and mashing more narrowly understood (i.e., where boiling water is added to bring the mash temperature in the "tub" - his term - to 175-180 degrees, I think this is F.). He states as I read him that a proper mashing can be conducted without use of barley malt. He states too that while the mashing step takes some hours it should not be prolonged since this would lower the temperature in the tub and risk an "acetous fermentation". This risk would seem at odds with my theory above that he may have let his heated mash sit three days, although perhaps this did occur where temperature control could be better assured (say in winter - we are speaking of an era before mechanical refrigeration). What occurs, then, in the heated mash, sitting for some "three or four hours" as he says, to achieve a conversion of grain's long chain polymers to shorter forms which can be fermented? Does the grain sprout even over such a short period? I don't know, maybe there is some other explanation. All this said, I repeat that he stresses the importance of using barley malt and he states after an extended discussion of mashing and saccharification, that "it is scarcely ever the case that an individual uses raw (that is, unmalted) corn for the purpose of distillation". Scarcely means it can be done without malt, but almost never is, and I assume this is because an artisan technique or trade trick just isn't commercially viable in most cases - it will stand in a pinch, or for someone on a farm or working on a small scale not concerned with profit and sales, but will not do for someone in business who for competitive reasons must maintain a certain standard of technology. This will be true now as then, as applied to our current state of technology.

09-14-2008, 05:45
I should have said, where I said "winter", summer, i.e., a covered tub would stay warmer longer in the summer. However in cold weather one might keep a tub warm by exposing it to articifial heat. My sense is there were many ways to skin a cat (constrained however in the commercial context). E.g., maybe they made a green malt first (i.e., steeping in non-heated water) and two or three days later added enough hot water to proceed with a Byrnian 3-4 hour tub mash.


09-14-2008, 08:02
A lot of words to say they made a crude, field expediency malt.

The term "field expediency" makes me wonder what soldiers, from the Civil War to M.A.S.H., used for enzymes, especially if they were converting something like the starch in potato peels. Probably some kind of malt extract.

09-14-2008, 09:35
A lot of words is how I express myself, sometimes, to get to the bottom of things. I have concluded that preparing a regular cereals malt (grinding, steeping, germination, kilning) is not required to convert a mash. It is a question of terminology if you like, but when I stated initially that I understood a converted mash can be prepared without malt, that is the malt I was referring to, as was Byrn, who does not use the term "green malt" or rudimentary malt. He speaks only of adding chaff to assist a natural conversion, a "complete saccharification" as he states, but also makes clear, as I always understood, that in commercial practice barley malt is indispensable to making a mash. My original point was that it is not indispensable in artisan distilling and I am satisified this is correct.


09-14-2008, 14:09
Unless your explanation identifies a realistic source for the necessary enzymes, it's not much of an explanation, and chaff is not the source.

09-14-2008, 14:28
It's the raw grains, Chuck, the moistening of the grain does it, the grain needn't be exposed to air and then wetted and then dried. The enzyme is already in the grain and the prolonged exposure to water activates it. This is stated expressly in the second source I cited and can be inferred from the first.


09-14-2008, 14:36
No, the potential for the enzyme is in the grain but the enzyme is only manufactured by the seed when it begins to germinate. Call it whatever you want, but malting = germination and that is what produces the enzyme, germination. Yes, moisture is the cue to the seed to start to germinate. Heat and drying are simply used to stop the germination to preserve the starch, so the sprout doesn't consume it all, but that step isn't necessary if you intend to use the germinated grain immediately. I don't know plant biology well enough to assess exactly what keeping the grain underwater does, but obviously that deprives the sprout of oxygen, which may keep it from consuming the converted starch/sugar so it's available for the yeast.

09-14-2008, 16:03
I have some sources I'll check on this.


09-14-2008, 16:37
I've referred in past discussions to an article on Canadian rye whisky production by J.A. Morrison in a book which appeared some years ago on distilled spirits production, a fairly technical article which requires for its full comprehension expertise in chemistry and chemical engineering I don't have.

This can be found by an online search.

In looking at it again, Morrison refers to "indigenous" enzymes in rye meal and he does this in at least two contexts. One is where he speaks of cooking the rye mash to a high enough temperature to sanitise it but not destroy through caramelisation simpler carbohydrates produced by their action and second, when referring to preparing a yeast mash, where he states that these enzymes produce some nutrients for the yeast to consume and grow.

He then gives an impressive presentation on how exactly the enzymes introduced by barley malt and artificially where appropriate do the work of breaking the starches completely into fermentable sugars.

Here I am really beyond the area I can usefully contribute though. Clearly a form of malting must occur even though not in the way normally understood, which I have assumed is related to these indigenous enzymes. Hence I suppose the reference to green malt in one of the sources disucssed. I would think the chaff just facilitates hyrdation and produces no chemical reactions itself (although I don't know for sure).

A fascinating area but I just don't have the science to say more. Perhaps it is true that the indigenous enzymes are newly created as opposed to being there and then prompted to action. I understood indigenous though in the sense that some enzymes are or become resident in the unmalted rye and do certain work on the starches and don't derive from the barley malt or through other external means.


09-14-2008, 16:44
I'm out of my depth as well, but in principle every seed is always trying to germinate so production of enzymes is always possible so long as the germ is viable. Any plant biologists out there want to save us from ourselves.

09-14-2008, 16:58
I don't know nothin' about nothin' but it seems you're both saying the same thing: the chaff helps promote liquification of the starch, and given time, wet grain will germinate and then be able via its natural enzymes (activated by malting) to convert the liquified starch into sugars.

Looking at this as a beer brewer, chaff might prevent a mash from gumming up or being too thick, factors which impede saccharification. Longer mashes almost always result in more fermentable sugars both through the prolonged action of amylase enzymes and, since we're talking sour mash with respect to bourbon and rye, through the breakdown of proteins and complex sugars during extended germination of the grains present in a mash.

So, you're both right or both wrong, as far as I can tell, in that malting per se - i.e., germination followed by kilning - is not taking place, but germination is de facto malting without the process being stopped by higher temperatures, thus producing more enzymes and more sugars than a "malted," i.e. kilned grain would produce.

Or, I'm talking out of my ass.... This OGD 114 is pretty good.


11-30-2008, 08:48
While enjoying the Sunday paper here in lovely, ass-freezin' Albany NY, I found an article about Tuthilltown Distillers.
Seems that due to a poorly written law and some bureaucratic SNAFUs, the distillery can't serve samples at their site.
Looks like that unintended situation may be resolved shortly, making it worthwhile to visit.
Now, if only the distiller would be around on weekends, I'd be able to complete that visit and meet Ralph.