Where: Ancram, New York
Specialty: Solera Bourbon
Hillrock Estate Distillery, a newcomer to the vibrant Hudson Valley small-batch distilling scene, stands out in a number of ways. It grows its own rye and barley, has its own malt house, and does its own malting—all rare feats in America.
But it’s the outfit’s whiskey that will raise the most eyebrows. It’s a solera Bourbon, and, according to Master Distiller Dave Pickerell, it’s the first of its kind, since the solera system typically is only used in Sherry making. A gradual blending process, it involves topping off a few select older barrels with younger whiskey.
Pickerell says he uses the Spanish technique to achieve both blending consistency and depth of flavor. “It will just continue to get deeper in character,” he says.