Whiskey Review Round Up: Breuckelen Distilling Whiskeys - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review Round Up: Breuckelen Distilling Whiskeys

Breuckelen? Don’t we mean Brooklyn? Well, yes… and no. In the 17th century, what is now the largest of the five boroughs that makes up the city I love to visit but would not want to live in (I’m a Bostonian, this is a compliment), was settled by the Dutch. After dispossessing the native Lenape population, Dutch settlers laid down roots and named this area Breuckelen, perhaps after a town of the same name in the Netherlands.

Originally a bustling hamlet, over time, Brooklyn lost its luster and fell into disrepair (I’m not a hipster, but I do remember this time), until urban sprawl pushed people across the East River, joining hipsters in revitalizing a forgotten and underrepresented borough.

Brooklyn as a destination offers up plenty for the reverse bridge and tunnel crowd, from Dinosaur BBQ (a personal fave) and the New York Transit Museum, to the storied and beautiful Prospect Park. And, back in 2010 in Sunset Park, Breuckelen Distillery began distilling spirits. Originally producing their lauded Glorious Gin, in 2012, Brad Estabrook, Master Distiller and ex bond trader, began the process of creating his award-winning Bottled-in-Bond Project No. 1: Straight Bourbon as well as his 77 Whiskey- Bonded Series.

Bottled-in-Bond, or BiB, originally was a means to guarantee the quality of a spirit as well as address taxation of American whiskey, as excise taxes were deferred until after the whiskey was aged. The award-winning Straight Bourbon, a mash consisting of 60% corn, 20% red wheat, and 20% malted barley (malted in Hadley, MA,) all sourced locally, is twice-distilled to 150 proof, aged four years in oak, and finally bottled at 50% abv. The rye whiskey, a blend of locally grown rye and corn (85% and 15%, respectively,) is also aged for 4 years and bottled at 100 proof.

Both whiskies are well-made, no-nonsense spirits that are solid expressions of their respective category. The bourbon comes in a little hot but the red wheat softens up the heat and the barley adds a toasty, cereal component that compliments the sweetness of the corn. The rye is a spicy little number that benefits from the corn and I really don’t miss its lack of barley.

image via Elizabeth Powell/The Whiskey Wash

Tasting Notes: Breuckelen Distilling No. 1 First Release Straight Bourbon Whiskey Project Bottled in Bond           

Vital Stats: Bourbon produced in accordance with the Bottled-in-Bond act of 1897, 100 proof, 60% corn, 20% red wheat, and 20% malted barley mash bill, aprox. $50-$80

Appearance: Bronze-gold with touches of deep rust

Nose: Vanilla, cocoa nibs, dried cherries, slightly petrol-ish like one might find in Sauternes, Jordan almonds, aged leather

Palate: The nose delivers, heat melting into caramel, unctuous notes of dried dark fruit, toast with cinnamon butter, and a surprising viscosity.

Final Thoughts and Score: 3.5/5 It’s solid, but a little pricey for a BiB. This is a whiskey for the passionate collector of BiB bourbons who wants to add New York to their stockpile. For the casual drinker, this may be a little too dear for the spend.

Tasting Notes: 77 Whiskey Bottled in Bond Bonded Rye & Corn

Vital Stats: 85% rye, 15% corn distilled and produced to meet the Bottled-in-Bond Act regulations, aproximately $75

Appearance: At first blush, well-worn Doc Marten’s ox-blood with a golden hue at the edge of the glass.

Nose: Lemon pie, grassy, banana, oak notes and a little touch of sweet red licorice.

Palate: The palate brings to mind the feeling of fresh grass after a light rain, a little astringent and tannic that falls off into a dry finish of oaky tropical notes, banana flavoring, white pepper.

Final Thoughts and Score: 2.5/5 It’s fine, for a relatively new entry into the darker spirits category from New York, but I think that this is still a little under-developed.

The Takeaway: For avid enthusiasts who want cool table talk and don’t mind a fairly steep price tag, either of these are good choices, but I’m more inclined to lean towards the bourbon on the shelf. For price:value ratios, these are probably not your cup of tea. In all, Breuckelen is heading in the right direction, and time will likely give Mr. Estabrook a firmer hold on these offerings.