I must admit up front that while I’d heard great things about Hudson’s Baby Bourbon, my one and only previous Hudson experience with their single malt years ago was… not great. In truth, it was a clear deterrent to prioritizing further explorations. For years I would see their squat half bottles in various airports and think… should I? And never did.
However when a dram lands in your lap, one must put aside past prejudice and enter into the exploration with an open mind. It particularly helps when sampling with others who had no such preconceived notions from past forays.
What did we find?
Hudson Baby Bourbon 46%
- Nose – We were initially greeted with sweet corn, coffee, cherries, resin, a bit funky but in a fun way, red licorice
- Palate – A bit rough – much more so than anticipated from the nose, not complex, woody and a bit medicinal
- Finish – None to speak of…
- Water – We gamely tried hoping it might coax out additional elements… don’t, just don’t
Overall it wasn’t a bad start. It certainly was promising on the nose but a disappointment on the palate. We were calibrated for brasher, younger more spirited American drams, however even keeping that in mind, this was potentially interesting but certainly not brilliant.
We returned after sampling the other three American whiskies to see if the Baby Bourbon had evolved or changed over the hour or so…. The additional time didn’t do it any favours. What remained in the glass had soured, losing those sweet funky elements that made it promising.
So what do we know? Well, touted as the first legal pot-still whiskey to be produced in New York since prohibition, Tuthilltown distillery uses local corn, aged in small 2 gallon barrels… and then coax along the maturity with ‘sonic maturation’ from bass speakers that agitate the cask and the liquid. Hmmm…
It seems I’m not alone in being ambivalent about Hudson – more than many other bourbon’s out there, you can find a wide range of reactions from absolute raving love to distain and derision!
I tried to find the official tasting notes, however it seems that the distillery has gone in a different direction and no longer has this ‘Baby Bourbon’ option, shifting instead to a “Bright Lights, Big Bourbon” expression.
Here was our full American quartet:
With more from our 2019 Master of Malt Advent Calendar…
- Summer minis – Brenne Cuvée Spéciale French Single Malt Whisky 40%, Mackmyra Äppelblom 46.1%, Mackmyra Glöd 46.1%, Longmorn 10 year Batch 3, 48.3% (TBWC)
- Dunkerton Drams – Nikka Days 40%, Lakes Distillery Steel Bonnets 46.6%, Starward Nova 41%, Fettercairn 10 year 40%
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