A New Step on the New York Bourbon Trail
Story by Michael Durante Jr.
Photographed by dKol Photography
I inhale deeply and a familiar sensation pushes open my lungs, filling my body right to the back of my closed eyelids. I recall Marion County, Kentucky, where the Maker’s Mark Distillery tour walked me through sheds stocked with thousands of bourbon barrels. The angels’ share—distillers’ pet name for the all-encompassing alcohol evaporating during the bourbon-aging process—here is no different from there, but opening my eyes settles my sense of place. I am on an old farm in Stanfordville, in Dutchess County, standing in a shipping container loaded with bourbon barrels. For the “old Kentucky home” may be far away, but the spirit of bourbon has come alive in our Hudson Valley.
Leading me down the icy path to their hooch stash are Paul and Carol Ann Coughlin, proprietors of Taconic Distillery, an upstart bourbon and rye producer. Like so many local entrepreneurs, the couple admired this beautiful valley from afar for decades before recently deciding to plant their roots here, turning a tract of forgotten farmland into a productive enterprise. In so doing, the Coughlins are helping turn the Hudson Valley into a bourbon drinker’s destination; one perhaps lacking the history of Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail, yet matching it in quality in terms of the end results.