Noted Oyster Bay resident and U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt was famous for cheering “Bully!” as a metaphorical slap on the back to someone who’d done good.
So, how about a rousing, “Bully!” to Long Island’s own Rough Rider Straight Bourbon, which was recently awarded a stellar score of 94 (Excellent, Highly Recommended) at the 2016 Ultimate Spirits Challenge.
Rough Rider Bourbon is produced by Long Island Spirits, the region’s first craft distillery, established in 2007 in Baiting Hollow. Long Island Spirits president and CEO, Rich Stabile, has a fondness for local iconography and named the distillery’s first bourbon in honor of Teddy Roosevelt and the legendary Rough Riders, the volunteer cavalry unit that gained fame at the Battle of San Juan Hill in 1898. The unit disbanded at Camp Wikoff on Montauk Point after returning from the Spanish-American War, forever linking its story with Long Island’s storied past.
Judges cited Rough Rider Bourbon’s bright and spicy aromas, with hints of chewy caramel, milk chocolate and toasty orange peel.
Now the name Rough Rider is making history again. The Ultimate Spirits Challenge was established to create a more accurate methodology and standard of evaluation for spirits. Each product is judged by a series of blinded expert panels to remove any inherent bias. Rough Rider Bourbon placed ahead of some long established names in the Kentucky Straight Bourbon category.
“The Ultimate Spirits Challenge is the premier spirits competition in the world, and I was extremely flattered that we received such amazing ratings,” says Stabile.
Judges cited Rough Rider Bourbon’s bright and spicy aromas, with hints of chewy caramel, milk chocolate and toasty orange peel. They noted the palate is round and rich with roasted peanuts, baked apricot and dried fig flavors balanced by a nice acidity and a hint of pepper.
Stabile says the recognition is important for spirits produced on Long Island. “We are about 10 years old now, and it is very validating as Long Island’s craft spirits have grown past just being recognized at the regional level and are now being welcomed across over 30 states.”