DSR – NY – 001: Brothers’ Cut Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Company/Distillery: Old Home Distillers
Location: Lebanon, New York
Mash Bill: 70% New York Cracked Corn, 15% New York Malted Rye, and 15% New York Malted Barley
Age Statement: Aged No Less Than 2 Years
Proof/ABV: 92 Proof/46% ABV
Color & Viscosity: Brothers’ Cut bourbon presents a vibrant auburn color in the glass. As the tasting vessel is tilted, the residual viscous appears thin, then gradually develops into a more full bodied line. The development of any legs is belated and the overall appearance in the glass is crisp.
Purchase Price: $38.00 at a Farmer’s Market February 2021; 750 ml
Bottle Label Information:
“Brothers’ Cut Straight Bourbon Whiskey”
“Old Home Distillers”
“A. & A. Carvell”
“Lebanon, New York”
Right Side Label
“Straight Bourbon Whiskey distilled from 100% New York corn, barley malt, and rye malt.”
“Batch: 12 | Bottle: 123”
“Aged no less than two years in new charred American white oak barrels.”
Left Side Label
“Distilled & Bottled By: Old Home Distillers, 964 Campbell Road, Lebanon, NY U.S.A.”
“Old Home Distillers is a family owned and operated New York farm distillery. Visit us online at oldhomedistillers.com.”
Old Home Distillers
The whiskey industry is filled with tall tales and legends about the history of old brands and the romantic beginnings they each shared in starting their operations. All of this is fun to read and explore, however, Rickhouse Ramblings has developed a true appreciation for the young distillers blazing their own paths and distilling spirits the hard way! Whiskey is not an easy business to break into, however, if done correctly, provides a story of hard work, resilience, and quality products made with heart, soul, and sweat. That is exactly what you will find with Old Home Distillers.
Old Home Distillers started as a brainstorming idea in 2014 by Adam Carvell. Adam had made the decision to move his family from their current home of Tucson, Arizona back to his hometown of Lebanon, New York to be closer to family. Prior to deciding to move, Adam managed a bar in Tucson while earning his law degrees. While at the bar, Adam would develop an interest and acquire a wealth of knowledge about the spirits industry and consumer habits. As Adam was preparing to move back to Lebanon and seeking employment, he came across new state legislative changes which allowed for small-scale distillers to operate under a farm license. This was less restrictive and less expensive than alternative options. As if by divine intervention, Adam discovered that a local farm was for sale in Lebanon; a farm at which he and his brother, Aaron, had worked as teenagers. Adam saw potential in the farm and decided to pitch the idea of a farm distillery to his brother and their parents, Jerry and Marlene.
During this time, Aaron Carvell was residing in New Zealand while operating a cafe-gallery. Aaron had previously spent several years in San Francisco working with media relations for several wineries, fine dining restaurants, and luxury retailers. In addition to his career in media relations, Aaron also had experience and an interest in the art of homebrewing. Although the family had no direct experience with the distillation of spirits, Aaron, driven by an entrepreneurial spirit and a bit of a wild hair, jumped at the opportunity pitched by Adam. Aaron moved back to Lebanon, New York to join his family in the creation of the distillery.
In 2015, the family would officially launch Old Home Distillers. The distillery is a beautiful example of a true family run business. They are remarkably 100% family funded, meaning they haven’t use any bank loans or grants for opening their doors and daily operations. In order to make the distillery work, the family knew that they must hit the road and personally sell their products in order to turn sales into liquid capital to reinvest into the distillery and keep things running; this includes the way Rickhouse Ramblings came across their products, in a local farmers market. Currently, Old Home Distillers is 100% family operated with no outside employees. Both parents and brothers still work at the distillery today. Jerry currently assists with the production of spirits, site maintenance, and deliveries while Marlene runs the tasting room and keeps the distillery’s books. Brothers Adam and Aaron are “co-distillers” along with sharing many of the other responsibilities of the business. Adam is the Operations Director and handles the oversight of warehousing, tax compliance, safety, and more. Aaron is the Marketing Director and handles account sales and shipping along with distributor and media relations. So why “co-distillers” and not “Master or Head Distiller”? Aaron sums it up nicely, “We eschew the whole ‘master distiller’ or ‘head distiller’ concept as meaningless and overused, especially by new operations with little actual experience.”
All products manufactured by Old Home Distillers are mashed, fermented, distilled, aged, and bottled on-site by Adam and Aaron at the Lebanon, NY distillery. The distillery does not use any cane sugar, caramel color, or unnatural additives in the production of their spirits. Old Home Distillers currently operates using four stills on site. The first, a 225-gallon steam-powered pot still which is custom made by a local fabricator and used for the stripping of spirits. Next, a 100-gallon electric hybrid pot still with modular column manufactured by Hillbilly and used for rectification. The third is a 25-gallon steel pot gin still with copper column. Finally, they have a 20-gallon copper pot still manufactured by Hillbilly and used for pilot batches. Before distillation, all solids are removed from the mash using a water-powered fruit press. This process was started prior to acquisition of the steam-powered stills and was a critical step for success.
Old Home Distillers acquires its barrels for aging exclusively from Adirondack Barrel Cooperage of Remsen, New York. In the beginning, Old Home Distillers started by aging their whiskey in 10-gallon barrels but quickly realized they would need to use 15-gallon barrels instead. They have since moved to using 30-gallon barrels for their Brothers’ Cut Straight Bourbon Whiskey. In 2021, the distillery upgraded barrels again and for the first time began filling 53-gallon barrels for their Brothers’ Cut Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
Other Products offered by Old Home Distillers include their Unaged Corn Whiskey, Old Home Distillers Gin, Apple Jack, Maple flavored Whiskey, Spiced Whiskey, New York Single Malt Whiskey, Brothers’ Cut Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Field Days Bourbon Whiskey, Electric Mayhem Rye, The Maple Cask Conundrum, and Brothers’ Cut Barrel Proof.
Brothers’ Cut Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Brothers’ Cut Straight Bourbon Whiskey is made using a mash bill of 70% New York State Cracked Corn, 15% New York State Malted Barley, and 15% New York State Malted Rye. Malted rye is a bit of an unusual grain used in current bourbon production. Aaron indicates that the malted rye is a distinctive part of Brothers’ Cut Straight Bourbon and adds a bit of a toasty and spicy taste, which they believe sets them apart from other offerings. After distillation, Brothers’ Cut is aged a minimum of 2 years in 30-gallon barrels produced by the Adirondack Barrel Cooperage. If you are in New York and looking to find a bottle of Brothers’ check out their distribution list on the Old Home Distillers website.
A special thanks goes out to Aaron Carvell, and the rest of the Carvell family, for your openness and transparency in providing us information for this overview of the distillery. You provided so many details that we could write several posts about your history and distilling knowledge. It was an honor and we are very appreciative of your time and willingness to be an open book as we try to share your story.
Tasting Date/Vessel: April 11, 2021 – Neat in Glencairn Glass; Then with a few drops of distilled water.
Christian: In the bottle, Brothers’ Cut hits with an unmistakable flavor bomb of fresh tobacco. When nosing from the bottle, this spirit is amazingly aromatic. In my Glencairn glass, a first nosing produces a quick hit of ethanol. After a quick swirl and then returning the glass to my nose, I smell a yeasty aroma, similar to that of fresh rolls possibly even beer fermenting. I swirl again in the glass and this time I notice a slight earthiness, similar to roasted peanuts in their shell. This is accompanied by a nice sweetness of caramel and brown sugar plus a hint of spiciness of black pepper and clove. Adding distilled water, the pour brings a hint of butter to the fold. The sweetness remains persistent, yet, becomes more like butterscotch than caramel. The nice smell of yeast rolls remains.
Mike: Directly from the bottle, this straight bourbon entices the senses with notes of cured tobacco. Nosing the pour from the glass produces an immediate charge of ethanol that transitions to fresh yeast roll dough rising in a bakery kitchen. As I pull the glass back from my nose, and with a gentle swirl of the whiskey, a small bite of black pepper and maybe fresh ground sage (sounds crazy, I know) is detected then yields to a rush of softened brown sugar.
Christian: Brothers’ Cut has a surprisingly gentle and soft mouth feel, but provides a nice coating on the tongue. The first sip is rather sweet on the tip of the tongue and then transitions to a subtle but noticeable smokiness. Brown sugar is present along with a light flavor of Pop-Tart crusts. This is reminiscent of toasted brown sugar and cinnamon Pop-Tarts! Sweet honey with a hint of roasted peanuts is also present. The distilled water makes the mouth feel a little less desirable. Earthy flavors become more dominate with a little bitterness present. The rye pepper spice is still noticeable with a pop of oak barrel char.
Mike: As I take my first sip, Brothers’ Cut is dry on the tongue. There is a slight smokiness present but it is not reminiscent of any Scotch-like smoke, perhaps more toasted. Sweet tobacco flavors appear mid-palate and seamlessly mingle with spicy cinnamon candies. My second taste of this whiskey is more cinnamon forward as I hold it briefly on the tongue. A dry oakiness is momentarily established mid-palate as a soft rye spice enters late.
Christian: This whiskey has a medium finish that is dry. A slight sweetness is present, much like caramel and vanilla, that slowly transitions to allow a toasted oak flavor to thrive. Again, the black pepper and cinnamon baking spice linger nicely here. As the spirit has disappeared from my palate, I notice a very light hint of cinnamon apples that well up very late. A little warmth starts from deep in the chest but it is not overbearing or unpleasant at all. In fact, I find this to be a rather enjoyable finish. The addition of water really allows the cinnamon baking spice and black pepper flavor from the rye to shine. Again, I notice a bit of shelled roasted peanuts start to show up.
Mike: This whiskey offers a short and delicate finish that is somewhat dry. Again, the flavor of savory cinnamon heart shaped candies linger on the palate as a blast of dry ground cinnamon tickle the back of the throat.
Christian: Once again it seems like we have found a very unique and enjoyable pour. Old Home Distillers Brothers’ Cut Straight Bourbon Whiskey is not available here in North Carolina. I am so thankful that Mike took up the offer of a mutual friend to bring this to us to review. It is pretty amazing how this pour transitions as it sits in the glass. The aromas develop and shift as you allow the whiskey to rest before sipping. Old Home Distillers Brothers’ Cut makes a fine sippin’ whiskey that I enjoyed drinking neat. I would not recommend adding water to it as the flavors are more pronounced without it. I really enjoyed this introduction to Old Home Distillers and New York bourbon and would love to try some more of their offerings in the future.
Rating: 3.0 Rickhouses
Mike: Bottled at 92 proof, Brothers’ Cut is an intriguing pour. The nose and mouth are objectively complex. The aromas and flavors that developed throughout the tasting are gratifying. The finish is subdued and somewhat wanting for my palate. This is a respectable pour that isn’t necessarily lacking in overall flavor, but I question if it is restricted by its proof. MSRP is $39.99 which is common for a craft product.
I very much enjoyed this whiskey neat and with the lower proof, would not suggest adding water or ice. This is an approachable bourbon for beginners and adequate enough for a seasoned enthusiast.
Rating: 3.0 Rickhouses