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The tasting room at Tamworth Distilling Photo by Susan Laughlin
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Andy Harthcock and his wife, Cindy, owners of Djinn
Spirits in Nashua, were born and raised in Mississippi. And while one might assume they arrived here with bourbon in their DNA, it’s interesting to note that they hail from a dry county. “I didn’t have any moonshiners in my family — or at least nobody fessed up to it,” Andy Harthcock says. “My wife grew up in Lawrence County. The counties in Mississippi are divided into ‘Beats,’ which are basically voting districts. Lawrence County was dry, but even as a child she knew that they made moonshine in Beat 3. Everybody knew it.” Thus the name that would adorn the bottles of Djinn’s whiskies was chosen. The two produce three whiskeys under the Beat 3 label, including a white whiskey — using a charcoal filtering process similar to the “Lincoln County” process used in Tennessee whiskies. The white whiskey is then aged in charred American white oak barrels to make their mid-grade Reserve Whiskey, and their premium Single Malt Whiskey, which is aged for one year in new charred barrels for an intense caramel flavor. “I bottle it at 50 percent alcohol by volume (100 proof) because some like it a little on the hot side,” Harthcock says. “But you can add just a little water or serve it over an ice cube, because as
While you’re there: Try Djinn’s staggeringly-popular Krupnik — a spiced honey liqueur created from a 500-year-old recipe originally drawn up by Lithuanian monks. It’s traditionally served neat, but also mixes well with apple cider and brandy.
the percentage of alcohol goes down, a good whiskey will release more aromatics and flavor. I’ll stack our Single Malt up against any of the others in the category.” The knowledgeable Harthcock also revels in pulling back the curtain to reveal how it’s all done. Drop in for a visit — the distillery is open for tours on weekends from 12-5 p.m. — and the friendly, talkative distiller will fill your mind as well as your flask. Classes are held at the Nashua distillery monthly, providing enthusiasts with everything they’d want to know about whiskey, from its history and classification to fermentation, distillation and advanced aging techniques.
Like most entrepreneurs, Brian Ferguson wears many hats: owner, winemaker, distiller and farmer are among them. In fact, there’s not much that goes on at the 110-acre site that doesn’t bear Ferguson’s fingerprints — including the extensive agricultural element that goes into his products. Ferguson found his way to Flag Hill in Lee by way of Grand Cayman Island, where he was the Head Distiller for the Cayman Spirits Company. He started at Flag Hill four years ago, and purchased the business two years ago. “When we moved here, the goal was to stay for a couple years and then I was going to work on starting a distillery in Pennsylvania,” Ferguson says. Plans changed. The 29-year-old and his wife, Maddie, had developed an unexpected connection to this corner of the Granite State. Thanks to Ferguson’s agricultural calling, the weeping fields behind the winery/distillery are now filled with corn and wheat alongside the grape vines. Walk into the comfortable, farmhouse-style tasting room and you’re immediately surrounded by the fruits of Ferguson’s labor — from vodka to wine to brandy. Crossing from the wine displays over to a rack where the sun is filtered through the amber tint in the angular bottles of Flag Hill Straight Rye, the discussion turns sharply to the world of whiskey. Flag Hill produces both a bourbon and a rye whiskey. The rye is Monongahela-style rye whiskey, which is very different from Kentucky-style rye whiskey. There’s no corn in the mash bill, and it has very high malt quantity. “You get these really nice, honey, grassy notes,” he says. “I’ve actually had multiple people think we were physically dumping honey in to get that flavor. It just comes from high malt and the way we ferment, the way it sits in a barrel, the type of barrel it sits in and for how long. As it sits in the barrel and develops, it becomes big and bright.” The Flag Hill Straight Bourbon — look for the gorgeous bottle with every bit of information you’d want on the label — is made up of 71 percent corn, 15 percent malted barley and 14 percent rye. Bottled at 90 proof, it is both top notch and unbelievably smooth. Visitors to the farm can see for themselves: Flag Hill is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and public tours are available on the weekends at 12 p.m. While you’re there: Pick up a bottle of Josiah Bartlett Barrel Aged Apple Brandy. It’s a delicious combination of oak, local apples, and just the slightest touch of heat. The distillery at Flag Hill
Destination NH | 2017