I have been friends with Marty Duffy for over twenty years. I have nothing but respect for Marty and when he tells me I need to taste a whiskey, I listen. He has a great palate and a great respect for new distilleries. He visited this Brooklyn based distillery and arranged for them to send me some samples for review. I am glad he did.
Fort Hamilton Distillery is in Brooklyn within the area of the old Fort Hamilton. They started distilling in 2016 and have a four year old rye whiskey for sale. It is 90% rye and 10% malted barley. The grains are all locally sourced from New York State. I like this higher than 5% malt as I feel malt adds flavor to a whiskey that enzymes do not have. The 10% malt recipe has enough malt to create a full conversion of starch to sugar so they don’t have to use enzymes. They also use a barrel entry proof that is less than the 125 maximum, so they are getting more of the sweet caramel and vanilla flavors from the barrel at a younger age. I like this. Matt and I sat down and tasted their barrel strength version that was sent to me recently and here are our notes.
Fort Hamilton Cask Strength Rye Whiskey
Age: Four Years Old
- Mike: Rye grass, caramel, raisins, currants, baking spices and oak.
- Matt: Rye grass, caramel, raisins and toasted almonds.
- Mike: Rye grass, honey, vanilla, dried apricots, dates, allspice and nutmeg spices with some sweet oak wood. Tasted with a dried cranberry and the caramel and dried fruit comes forward. Tasted with a pecan and a little orange zest and white pepper come out to join the other flavors.
- Matt: Rye grass, caramel and allspice with a little sweet oak wood. The dried cranberry brings out a cotton candy sweetness with a little allspice. The pecan brings out a buttery cocoa with hints of rye and sweet oak wood.
- Mike: Medium long with oak, spice and lingering dried fruit. The dried cranberry makes the finish longer with more lingering fruit notes. The pecan made the finish long with sweet oak wood and white pepper.
- Matt: Cayenne pepper with red hot cinnamon candy with a touch of sweet oak. The dried cranberry made the finish longer with more cayenne pepper and red hot cinnamon candy. The pecan brought out more sweet oak wood and the spice became cardamom.
I would pair this rye whiskey with a cigar that is rich in earthy tobacco and cedar spice. I think I would reach for a Rocky Patel Decades – maybe one of their Autumn Blend cigars. These cigars always give me plenty of rich tobacco and cedar spice flavors.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller