On September 24, 2012 Tuthilltown Distillery in Gardiner, New York suffered a fire caused by leaking vapors off of one of the stills that ignited and exploded in the stillroom. The distillery was extremely fortunate: nobody was hurt, there was no serious damage to any of the expensive copper stills, and 100 tengallon casks of spirit survived the fire.
The exterior of the freshly filled barrels were charred during the fire, burning off any labels or markings that identified the spirit inside. Tuthilltown’s founder Ralph Erenzo set them aside to age and, on the two year anniversary of the fire, the casks were blended into a limited edition release to commemorate Tuthilltown’s recovery. The result is a blend of bourbon and rye whiskey that has a nose of sweet caramelized corn, spicy rye, orchard fruits of apples and peaches and a touch of vanilla. On the tongue, the Double Charred is spicy, with a kick of peppercorn, sweet corn, bright lemon that balances nicely with the baritone of tannins—complete with a spicy finish.
Tuthilltown was the first legal distillery in New York state following prohibition and is known for their award-winning handmade whiskeys that are distilled from grains sourced from surrounding farms and for the distillery’s unique sonic aging process. The walls of the rack houses are lined with radiant heat powered by the distillery’s stills, warming the warehouse and allowing the oak barrels to expand and absorb more whiskey. At night, deep bass music is played to agitate the whiskey and encourage even more expansion from the wood casks.
The release of Hudson Double Charred Whiskey is a celebration of the distillery’s rehabilitation following the 2012 fire, and with only 2,760 bottles created, it is a historic release that is sure to be highly coveted by whiskey collectors. Impressively, the Double Charred Whiskey (available at select retailers) is priced at $44, which justifies buying two bottles—one to sip and one to save for the retirement fund.
Images by Emily Arden Wells