It is nighttime. The camera pans over several hungry cowboys tucking in to their dinner. (It’s burrito night.) The rattle of spoon inside an empty jar prompts one to ask for more salsa. “Cooky” hands over the first thing he finds. Cowboys being cowboys, one of ’em reads the fine print on the label. Turns out the salsa is made in New York City. “New York City?!” the cowboy chorus asks incredulously. As they begin to menace the elderly cook, one says “get a rope,” because if there is anything worth killing a man over, it’s condiment terroir. Might the good people at the Tuthilltown craft distillery have experienced something similar when they brought New York’s first ever bourbon to market? I think not. For the Hudson Baby Bourbon really brings it, as the kids say. 100% corn whiskey with sparkling, high, bright fire, like corncobs crackling in a pellet-burning stove, or ball lightning flashing on the inaugural meeting of the Nebraska Cornhuskers Alumni Boosters Club, or moonbeams magnified by deep space telescope lenses into lasers. There is spice and fight aplenty here; a pair of Kilkenny cats tied in a burlap oyster sack would be tamer than this. And yet the time spent in tiny, 3-gallon white oak barrels makes this baby coo with vanilla delight. Would it surprise you to learn that corn futures are up since the introduction of this whisky in 2006? Correlation? Or causation? I say coronation!
The Hudson Baby Bourbon is Shaquille O’Neill–Some nicknames signal his aspiration to compare himself to other greats (Superman, The Big Baryshnikov, Wilt Chamberneazy), while others grow organically, one out of the other (The Big Agave, The Big Cactus, The Big Shaqtus, The Big Galactus). Some are obvious (Shaq, The Big Daddy), while others are at first blush inscrutable (The Big Aristotle, Hobo Master).