Hudson Manhattan Rye Whiskey
I firmly believe that few things rival the excitement of uncorking a new spirit and discovering a completely distinctive and unique flavor experience. Over the last couple of years, we here at Cigar Brief have been privileged with numerous opportunities to sample a wide variety of whiskies, bourbons, etc., and we’ve come to hold only a select few in extremely high regard. Following our intensive, and of course, completely necessary Monday night R & D session, we’ve now added Hudson Manhattan Rye to that short list of exceptional favorites. It’s fairly rare that I clear out my cantina’s valuable real estate and designate a new permanent spirit to my personal bar, but trust me when I say; this one is worthy of that space!
Hudson Manhattan Rye whiskey is a product of Tuthilltown Spirits LLC. The distillery, owned by Ralph Erenzo and Brian Lee, has been producing spirits in the traditional style of the pre-prohibition era since 2003 in New York. A couple of years later, the staff of Hudson whiskey were named “Best Artisan Distiller of 2010” by the American Distilling Institute. According to Hudson, “Prohibition put an end to small-batch distilling in New York, but Tuthilltown Distillers have resurrected an Empire State classic with our Rye Whiskey. We’re a very hands-on operation. That’s why we handpick our rye and source 90% of our raw materials within ten miles of the distillery. We support local farmers and use organic resources – keeping it green and keeping it real.”
The Manhattan Rye may be sourced and distilled in rural New York, but Hudson’s packaging oozes downtown style. Wax sealed and bottled in what looks like old mason jars, the Manhattan Rye’s amber tan acts as the backdrop for Hudson’s simplistic “less is more” label style.
The first thing one notices about the whiskey itself, is that the nose is predominately oaky with a slight sweetness that stays mostly muted thanks to the spice provided by the rye. At first sip, the rye takes center stage in all its spicy glory, and is accompanied by milder notes of ginger and oak. The bronzed whiskey is buttery and silky; a truly astonishing feat considering the Hudson Manhattan Rye weighs in at a stocky 46% ABV. The finish is moderate in length and reveals a variety of subdued notes ranging from bitter orange peel and mild coconut to burnt caramel.
Now, here’s where things get really interesting. Personally, I come from the school of neat drinks, meaning I like my booze in a nice highball sans the ice. Speaking only for myself, adding water tends to mute the notes I enjoy, while emphasizing those I could usually live without. That being said, you should definitely add a few drops of water to the Manhattan Rye at the midpoint of the glass and prepare to be amazed. Seemingly from nowhere, a powerful cinnamon flavor develops that quite literally dominates the profile. Interestingly, instead of being a candied or ultra sweet cinnamon that tastes cloying or artificial, the Manhattan Rye’s cinnamon profile tastes as though its derived naturally from the use of the rye and while transforming the whiskey entirely, it creates a wonderfully divergent second act.
Whether you consider yourself any kind of whiskey enthusiast or simply just a collector of fine experiences, go get yourself a bottle of the Manhattan Rye. Retailing for around $50.00 and available in most markets, there’s no reason to not to give it a try. I think you’ll find that the Hudson Manhattan Rye is worthy of a place on your top shelf!