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Fort Hamilton New York "Hearts of Oak Militia" Bourbon Review

Fort Hamilton New York Bourbon Whiskey Single Barrel Review

Imagine my excitement: another New York craft whiskey featuring local Hudson Valley grains under a cool bottling name with some interesting historical context. Certainly, my intrigue has been piqued at this point for an up-and-coming whiskey brand. I have the chance to review this bottle today thanks to a hand-me-down that came from a little someone who didn't have use for it any longer. I'm always glad to try a new distillery and will be going into this with an open mind, as I always do. Before we get into what's inside the bottle, let's talk a moment about the brand. From the single barrel bourbon press release in April of this year, we get the following story:

Alex Clark, who co-founded Fort Hamilton alongside his wife Amy Grindeland, comments: “This is a classic bourbon for bourbon lovers with a nod to our home of New York. As our Fort Hamilton Single Barrel NY Rye comes of age, with batch 14 released this year at 5 years old, it was time to extend our hospitality into bourbon with a Single Barrel Bourbon made from all NY grain. Fort Hamilton Single Barrel Bourbon is a spirit born of that same independent, revolutionary spirit and is built for the bourbon enthusiast and is true to our New York roots.”

As for the name itself, Fort Hamilton is a nod to the historic Brooklyn site, named after Alexander Hamilton and his military background. There's some interesting history to be read up on there, if you're into that sort of thing. If you're just here for the whiskey, scroll on; I've got a review for you!


Company on Label: Bottled by Alex Clark Spirits in Brooklyn (NY source undisclosed)

Whiskey Type: Bourbon Whiskey

Mash Bill Percentages: 85% NY corn, 10% NY rye, 5% NY malted barley

Proof: 95°

Age: 4.5 years

Further identification: This is single barrel # 40 which was put into a 53 gallon char 3 barrel at the maximum allowable proof of 125; bottles are available now at an MSRP of $55


Nose: Red, white, and blue salt water taffy and Sugar Daddy milk caramel pop notes lead the way for me. It's bright, like the rest of the candy shop is ready to follow suit in its synthetic saccharine swing. Lemonheads, jawbreakers, rock candy—you name the sugary snack—it's bubbling up right now. Bit-O-Honey anyone? Beyond that, a touch of black pepper singes the nose upon diving too deep. Holistically, it's a bit flat and ultimately fairly youthful, like a lot of whiskey from the northeast can be.

Returning my nose to the glass after a sip reveals a slightly savory, slightly medicinal undercurrent that is barely even perceptible. There is just nothing to this whiskey. I think it's a recipe that did not stand up to being proofed down this far. Nosing late in the glass offers a touch of earthiness that also comes across as bland and flat. The empty glass offers a kiss of milk chocolate and plastic candy wrappers littered across an asphalt street.

Palate: My first sip is surprisingly unsweet, given all the candy shop vibes from the nose. A hint of caramel is all that really registers on the tongue. Another sip gives off some light graininess, hay, and grass. Aerating the sip a bit reveals some of the synthetic sucrose from the nose. The linger offers some bleach-white printer paper. Sipping late into the glass manages to build up a little black pepper spice, a little note that may play well into the bartender's mixology mindset. On my last sip, unmitigated ethanol tingles the tongue without imparting any flavor. The finish is short and quite drying.

TL;DR: This was not good neat; perhaps it could find use in a smooth cocktail


Rating: 2/5

I would love to give this brand another chance and explore their rye, as that's where I think a younger, New York grain-forward whiskey can really shine. It's clear that their ownership is well-educated and has their heart in the right place, so I hope there are better releases on the horizon for this brand. That said, this particular bourbon is certainly not one for the whiskey enthusiast. But as a crowd-pleasing, introductory, smooth sipper? I'm sure this will find a home, but that home is just not my own, unfortunately. Thank you to Jes Smyth for sharing this bottle with me for the purpose of being able to give it a review—before also giving it away.



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