$$ — 45% ABV — ~1 year
There's not much to dislike about Breuckelen whiskey. For two quiet years, this product has been flying off the shelves of local bars. While we hope once they've been in production for more than a decade, some lovely antique barrels will be made available, this is a very differently-engineered whisky, meant to peak early.
This "New York Wheat" is very flavor-forward whisky without any of the common drawbacks like burn or overt smokiness that make people shy away from the 'hardcore' whiskies. Its very prominent cherry-like flavor makes it right at home in the sweet-tooth's Manhattan — which probably has more than a little cherry syrup 'accidentally' mixed in. I'd say shame on you, but I'm guilty of this as well from time to time.
But there's no strict need to mix 77; it has a smoothness that belies its age. Its red hue may seem antique, but there's no dyes and the age is hand-written at the bottom of the barrel, in days no less! Distilled at too high an ABV to legally be called a wheat whiskey, this is done to soften the spirit and speed up the aging.
Because they perform so well in just about any role, upstart distilleries like Breuckelen are putting the storied antique bourbons like Booker's and Blanton's in a tough spot: they're rivaled in taste, complexity and — worst of all — production speed. Many doom-speakers keep mentioning a 'whisky apocalypse' but with (to name a few) New York, Utah and Texas now making such great products I don't see any grounds for concern. Rest easy and drink deep!
Breuckelen is located in Brooklyn, New York in northeastern USA. Established in 2010 by Brad Estabrooke, it remains an independent distiller.