We have written many happy things about the whiskeys of Tuthilltown Spirits—see here, and here and here. Nobody denies that these folks make fine products.
Here, though, there is a rudimentary question: why make corn whiskey? Is it as a distilled spirit inherently appealing?
Over at DCFoodies.com, Drew Long (who interviewed us) suggests that white whiskey is the new absinthe—a product that gets hot quickly but cools soon after because folks simply do not like how it tastes. He also fingers it as a bit of a marketing gimmick—distillers can skip the expensive, slow aging process and take their hooch straight to market.
We see at least two advantages of corn whiskey. For one, it is a product that really tests the distiller’s skill. Many whiskey-makers hide their goofs through aging—off-notes and flavors can get buried beneath the pleasantries imparted by the barrel. With corn whiskey, it is much harder to hide your goofs, and this corn whiskey is goof-free. It is clean and dry. (Rating ****1/2)
A second value of corn whiskey is that sipping it is an educational experience. You try it and get a sense of how whiskey fresh off the still tastes. (Well, corn-based whiskeys at least. White dog Irish and Scotch do not taste like corn whiskey.) Try a good corn whiskey, then move up to an aged whiskey made by the same company and you will all the more appreciate the magic of barrel aging.
Those positives noted, Mr. Long is on to something. We understand that folks desperate for drink during Prohibition were happy to sip white whiskey. But seeing as how Prohibition is long gone and the market abounds with terrific barrel-aged whiskeys, why go back to the bad old days?
So, by all means, have a sip of this fine Corn whiskey, but think twice about dropping a wad of cash for a whole bottle of it or any other white whiskey.