It seems like every time I go home, there’s another distillery for me to discover in Westchester County, NY. This could be because I wasn’t nearly as much of a whiskey nerd a year ago, but craft whiskey distilleries are definitely on-trend right now and New York is definitely in on this trend. Today we’re looking at a local distillery in Port Chester, NY and their bourbon, which bears the same area code as my cell phone.
There’s shockingly little information about this distillery online.
From what I can find, the original distillery was opened by Ed Tiedge, a former-Marine-turned-stock broker who decided to change up his life by studying wine making and distillation in California before then spending time at a cognac distillery in France perfecting his skills. Located in Port Chester, NY on the New York-Connecticut border, the distillery was named after a suggestion by his wife Laura who, he says, is “still the one” for him.
Sometime more recently, Albert Saverese purchased the distillery and in April 2016 he hired Tyler LaCorata and Ryan Sadis to run the distillery operations. Tyler had previous experience working at Long Island Spirits but Ryan had spent the last part of his life as an electrician.
Together, they started producing a series of unaged vodkas distilled from honey, and eventually moving into whiskey and bourbon — all from locally sourced ingredients.
Much like the distillery, there’s (again) shockingly little information about what’s in this bottle. One of the benefits of a small batch produced spirit is that there’s a heavier focus on the process than with mass produced spirits… but in this case, there doesn’t seem to be the same level of detail available.
According to their website, this whiskey starts off as a mixture of corn, barley, and wheat all sourced from New York farms. That New York sourcing is important — as Tuthilltown Spirits discovered, using local ingredients gets around the exorbitant NY licensing fees for distilleries that would otherwise be imposed. As a bourbon, we can assume that at least 50% of the grain bill is corn, but exactly what the proportions are for other ingredients remains a mystery.
After mashing and cooking, the grains are fermented in stainless steel fermentation tanks until they reach the appropriate alcohol content. From there, the liquid is drained off and distilled in batches in their 215 gallon German-made pot still before being barreled in charred new oak barrels for aging.
The bottle itself is a standard design, a large straight sided round body with a round shoulder that tapers quickly to a medium length neck. The whole thing is topped with a gold colored metallic cap and cork stopper.
The label is similarly straightforward, consisting of a single strip of paper that wraps completely around the bottle. The “914” branding (the area code for Westchester County, New York) is boldly printed in black letters on a white background helping it stand out on the shelves. And it works — that large-font 914 is what drew me to this bottle over others from similarly local distilleries.
Standard bottling design isn’t really a problem for me, especially from a small distillery like this. Not everyone can have custom designed bottles and fancy labels — nor do they need it, if the contents are well produced. I will say that my one complaint is that the label covers up the majority of the bottle and I prefer to see more of the beautiful spirit on display on my shelf.
Immediately, I get some of those strong bourbon aromas coming off the glass. There’s the caramel and the vanilla, with an emphasis on the caramel flavor. It smells particularly sweet, like a young bourbon should, with possibly a bit of honey in the mix.
That same sweetness comes through in the taste of the spirit as well, but there’s also some of the malted barley flavors that make it more like biting into a piece of honey-drizzled bread. After a second, the vanilla also joins the party and nearly takes over before it all finishes with a lingering caramel flavor.
There’s a lot of different flavors combining here, but what I appreciate is that not only are there bold flavors (to make for good cocktails), but the flavors are well balanced and integrated well. As a neat spirit, it’s delicious and interesting enough to stand on its own.
With a little bit of ice, this starts tasting more like what I’d expect from a young bourbon, namely that ‘Wurther’s Originals’ flavor: sweet caramel with some strong vanilla notes.
What was a bit unexpected is that I think there’s some citrus in here too that’s starting to make an appearance. A hint of orange peel, perhaps? There’s definitely something citrus-esque, cutting through the sweetness and adding a bit of balance.
Cocktail (Old Fashioned)
Even without the muddled sugar, there’s plenty of sweetness to balance out the bitters. It’s a well balanced drink that only needs a cherry or a slice of orange to make it perfect.
That said, there’s something unexpected here. This time it’s a hint of nuttiness, like a walnut perhaps. It’s something that I can’t attribute to the ingredients I added, so may have come from the spirit itself. Either way, it’s another delicious layer to an already delicious drink.
It’s nice and well balanced… but there’s not a whole lot extra going on. The drink is good but it needs a kick of lime juice or something else to make it really pop.
Typically, this is why I prefer a bourbon with some rye content: the spice from the rye comes through and adds that kick to the mule, which I prefer personally. It lets you know that the whiskey is still there, rather than just being a bland cocktail like a Moscow mule. In this case, there’s some malty smoothness but not much else going on underneath the ginger beer.
I like it. It doesn’t have the peppery kick that I personally like in a bourbon whiskey, but then again not everyone feels like they need to be punched in the face with bold flavors the way I usually prefer my spirits. It’s a great sipping whiskey that’s delicious on its own or with some ice, it makes a great cocktail, but probably not the best use of this spirit in a mixed drink.
914 Bourbon Whiskey
Owner: Still The One
Production: Port Chester, NY
Classification: Bourbon Whiskey
Grain bill: Corn, Malted Barley, Wheat
Aging: No Age Statement (NAS)
Proof: 45% ABV
Price: $39.99/ 750ml
Overall Rating: 4/5
Still The One using their one still method to make some delicious stuff.