We mean it. The Upper East Side is the only neighborhood in NYC. Brooklyn can keep the hipsters, LES can keep the wankers, and UWS can keep Alec Baldwin. We were happy on our little quiet hill. One of the reasons, was a joint that opened up just before we left, called Bondurants. And Bondurants was where we discovered Hillrock Estate Distillery. (We know that was the long way around to arrive at whiskey, but why miss an opportunity to piss on the UWS? Or Alec Baldwin?) Anyway, Hillrock is the jam. When we first opened, we carried their bourbon. Made by the former master distiller at Maker's Mark, Dave Pickerell, and aged in the sherry method called the Solera system. Young distilleries have a distinct disadvantage: good whiskey needs time to mellow, and if you have investors breathing down your neck it is tough for anyone to mellow. So, often young whiskey gets rushed to the market. At Hillrock they cleverly sidestep this problem. Hillrock's bourbon is aged in the Solera system, in which you essentially make a pyramid of barrels and when you drink or sell a little from the top, you mix new stuff in from the bottom. This way their oldest and youngest whiskeys are blended and the product in the bottle is way, way better than most of the other young New York State whiskeys. Oh, did we mention they also grow all of the grain they distill? Yeah, they are gangster like that... We have never tasted whiskeys—hell, spirits—which are this well integrated and terroir driven. Now to the second part of the story... One of our good friends and competitors on Market Street came in and wisely chose Hillrock bourbon for his dram. After thoroughly enjoying it, he decided to carry it in his establishment, which is great! But that means we needed to do better. We got on the phone to the folks at Hillrock and they personally drove us the whole line. We now have bottles from barrels #3 and #4, the single malts, barrel #13, double cask rye, and a tiny bottle of batch #1 unaged rye whiskey (partially made using George Washington's stills at Mt. Vernon). If you can't tell already—we gush for these whiskeys, and we think you will too. Come on in and we will be happy to retell any part of this story and/or provide you with as many whiskey-geek factoids we can fit in before your glass is dry.
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