Share A Sip with Alex Castle 09.06.18

If you follow Old Dominick on social media – or if you’ve perused the bourbon aisle in your local liquor store in Memphis this week – you might’ve seen that we’ve introduced a new spirit: Huling Station, a high rye bourbon. What you might not realize is that if you’ve had our Memphis Toddy, you’ve already had a little bit of Huling Station – this spirit is the base of the Toddy!

About four years ago, we began the development of what would become Huling Station. We took our recipe, our yeast, our barrels, our water – pretty much everything we physically could – to another distillery and had them make our product. (Our downtown Memphis Distillery home was still a ways from being ready to occupy!)

We knew we needed a base for the Toddy, and we knew we wanted that spirit to be the first one we released. So, we had them make the high rye bourbon for us. And they made a lot! That bourbon is ready to go, and we only consume so much in the production of the Toddy – so we decided it was time to bring it for people to enjoy, and that’s when the idea of Huling Station started to come to life.

It was a bit of a long road before we landed on the name Huling Station, but once we got there we knew it was perfect. The building that was once Huling Station is just a few blocks from where our Distillery sits now, and it’s where Domenico Canale bottled his spirits before prohibition. Back in the day, Domenico would take the train up to Indiana and Kentucky to hand select the finest barrels to be delivered to Huling Station for bottling. With Chris and Alex Canale’s vision of Old Dominick today, it’s only fitting we gave a nod to the origination of the Dominick Whiskey line through this very small batch bourbon whiskey.

Huling Station is a four-year-old high rye bourbon. It’s 44 percent rye – it does have the legally required minimum 51 percent corn, but we kind of want it to toe the line of a rye whiskey, so that’s what this recipe does for us. We decided to go ahead and bottle it at 100 proof. That was something I pushed for. Personally, when it comes to my whiskeys and in spirits in general, I tend to like stronger bottled spirits. When you put them in a cocktail, they tend to get watered down. If you start at a higher proof, you still get to taste the characteristic of the spirit regardless of what you’re putting with it. That’s why it’s a little on the high side for the proof. (By law, they have to be bottled at or above 80 proof, and you will see a lot in the 80-90 range. In the last five years, I’ve seen a pick-up in the higher proofs, because the industry has sort of realized that people actually do like it. It doesn’t scare people as much as it used to.)

Because of the rye content in it, there is a spiciness and heat to Huling Station that is not coming from the alcohol, it’s coming from the rye itself – that’s why I like it. I’m a huge rye whiskey fan. You do get the sweetness from the corn, and you get vanilla and caramel notes, mainly from the barrel, but you’re getting a really nice spicy characteristic just from the rye.

Have you had a chance to try Huling Station yet? (Nashville and Chattanooga, we’ll be in your stores soon!) I’d love to hear what you think.