I was lucky enough to meet with Ralph Erenzo (and Dustin from Domaine Select) Distiller and sales manager for Tuthilltown Spirits out of New York. Firstly, these are both very nice guys, I was a solid 25 minutes late and the paid it no mind....I hate being late.
On to the product. I tasted most of the line, all of which is well-made, but was really blown away with a few products in particular.
Hudson Manhattan Rye: Solid toasted color, plenty dark and warm. Nose was all about the grain, not overly oaked at all. These two aspects made me ask how old it was, he had already told me that they use new barrels, so I was a bit puzzled by how dark it was compared to how gentle the oak was in the bouquet. "3 months," was the answer. HUH!?!? I don't see how that is possible. Well here is how they do it.
To start, they use small barrels. In Scotland I heard these called Quarter-casks and bloodtubs. Laphraig has a quarter-cask bottling that is super powerful. The idea is that a smaller barrel provides a higher ratio of surface area to spirit volume, i.e. more oak per gallon. This is cool, but not ground breaking. The other move is pretty outrageous. Apparently, Brian Lee, one of the men behind the spirit, is a sound guy. He devised a way to hyper infuse the spirit into the wood using sound waves. At night they crank up a subwoofer in the warehouse and vibrate the resting barrels. I think the result is undeniable.