Posted by: Matt Browner Hamlin | March 2, 2009

Review: Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey

hudson-baby-bourbonTuthilltown Spirits is a really cool distillery – making local whiskeys in new ways and prioritizing the grains available to them indigenously. There is a drive, recently document by the New York Times, for distilleries outside Kentucky and Tennessee to make whiskeys unique to where they are, as opposed to recreating something done elsewhere. I’m pretty sure that’s what lead me to first read about Tuthilltown Spirits, as well as Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey (who should be getting a review here soon), but I’m having trouble finding the article.

In any event, I recently acquired a bottle of Tuthilltown Spirts’ Hudson Baby Bourbon. It’s 100% corn bourbon, aged for only three months in small oak barrels. The Baby Bourbon’s use of 100% corn sets it out as something of a rarity. Federal law requires bourbon to have at least 51% corn, but few bourbons have more than 80% corn. Eric Asimov had this to say about the Hudson Baby Bourbon:

So what happens if you take corn whiskey and put it in charred new oak barrels? You get Hudson Baby bourbon, which is the only 100 percent corn bourbon that I know of, and I have to say, it’s awfully good – mellow and fruity with just a touch of sweetness, but not nearly as sweet as, say, Maker’s Mark, to take another young bourbon. I think the corn character is what makes it so mellow, which is unusual in a bourbon aged less than two years (at which time it can be called “straight bourbon’’ – you learn a lot browsing the federal regulations).

I found the nose of the baby bourbon to have a fairly strong caramel and citrus tones. The first sip brings a lot of lemon and orange peel flavor up front, along with a brief hit of pepper. It mellows towards the back of the tongue with a nice hit of vanilla. It leaves with a bit of acidity, but is very smooth for 92 proof whiskey. It was an easy-to-drink bourbon that retained a great deal of complexity without being too sweet.

I’d say that this was probably one of the best bourbons I’ve ever had and is probably going to challenge the Pappy van Winkle 20 year a run for the best bourbon I currently own. I just really enjoyed it in a way that I didn’t expect.

Normally for reviews I like to taste a spirit neat, with ice, and then in a cocktail or two. But for this I stopped after having the Baby Bourbon on ice. It was just that good. Also, since the bottle is only 375 mL and runs at about $40 a pop, I wasn’t prepared to make such a big dent in the bottle just yet, especially since I’m not sure if I can find more in DC.

Update:

Via the comments, check out this video of The Happy Hour Guys at the Tutilltown Spirits distillery.

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Responses

  1. Thanks for the generous comments on our BABY. We recommend you try our NEW YORK CORN, it’s BABY before the wood. Very user-friendly unaged spirit. And if you or some of your readers find yourselves in the neighborhood of the Hudson Valley, stop in and say hello.

  2. You’re welcome Ralph. I’ve rarely been as impressed with a single bottling as I was with your Baby Bourbon. It certainly makes me want to try more of your spirits. I’m in DC so I’m relegated to either ordering online or holding out for trips to NY, but in the mean time, I’ll continue to enjoy what I have.

  3. Nice review, Matt! We did a video on the Tuthilltown distillery a while ago. They’ve got a great spot for themselves. You should visit, if you have the chance. We second Ralph’s suggestion of the NY CORN.
    We’ll be down in DC for a few months coming up in April. Maybe we can team up for a tasting or visit one of your favorite places to grab a drink. We tend to focus more on unique or historical bars, but love throw in a tasting.
    Keep up the great work!
    Cheers,
    Mark Aldrich

  4. Thanks Mark – I just updated my post to include your visit to Tuthilltown.

    There are a number of great places to visit in DC, from older historic bars to new cocktail joints like The Gibson. The Four Seasons restaurant also just added a serious cocktail program to their bar. I’m sure we can find someplace good to visit.

    Keep in touch.
    Matt

  5. Great, Matt!
    I grew up in NoVa, so have some thoughts about the area, but haven’t been around for the past 5 years. I’m sure we can come up with something (or things) interesting.
    I get into town on the 17th, so I’ll be in touch after that.
    Cheers!
    mark

  6. Well then hopefully you’ll have some ideas, too. I haven’t been to any distilleries (or even know what’s around here). I’m a recent DC transplant. Drop a line when it gets closer to your arrival and we can make some plans.

    cheers,
    Matt

  7. Now available in D.C. 8)

    • I’m in DC for the weekend, and wondering where you found Baby Bourbon here…?

      • Ace Beverage

  8. Matt,

    If you didn’t know, Tuthilltown is offering the chance to make your own bourbon at their distillery and own your own cask. They walk you through the process (like a Whiskey Academy) and then you end up with about 35 of their 350 mL bottles.

    http://spiritedcocktails.com/index.php/2009/04/23/want-to-make-your-own-whiskey-tuthilltown-spirits-will-let-you/

    Also, if you didn’t see, the folks behind Brooklyn Brewery are looking to open a bourbon distillery in Red Hook:

    http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/32/16/32_16_mm_whiskey.html

    –Mike Connery

    • Holy crap, that is awesome. Sounds like I’ll be doing that at some point this summer…too good to pass up. Not that I think me making my own bourbon is necessarily a good idea.

  9. […] first found out that a bourbon named after Hudson exists in April last year and read good things about it. I’ve been waiting patiently for it to make its way to Seattle. But it still […]

  10. […] delicious, 100% corn Baby Bourbon was one of the favorites, although I was particularly impressed with the unaged variant that they […]

  11. Epic. The best whiskey I have had all year. The NY Corn is good grade shine, but the Baby is badass whiskey.

    Hah….I bought my baby in Singapore!

  12. I bought my Hudson Baby Bourbon Whiskey in Stockholm Sweden to day.
    5 mars we at the new whiskyclub (“Roslagens Whisky Sällskap”) will have “Baby” in a tasting. 🙂

  13. […] […]

  14. I picked up a bottle in Riverhead, Long Island last week. Delicious! I prefer it without ice, neat really brings out the flavor. My strongest taste impressions are caramel and vanilla with a hint of sweetness. I’m glad to have found it.

  15. […] that produce either white dog whiskeys or aged whiskeys that spend very little time in the barrel (in some cases, as little as three months or […]

  16. […] background: Hudson Whiskey is one of the premier American micro distilleries. One of the first reviews of a spirit I posted on this site was Hudson Baby Bourbon. It was one of my favorite bourbons when […]


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