Field & Sound Bottled in Bond Bourbon

Bottled in Bond Batch 1 (2021)

MASH BILL – 60% corn, 33% rye, 7% barley

PROOF – 100

AGE – 4 years

DISTILLERY – Long Island Spirits

PRICE – $59


Long Island Spirits hasn’t yet compelled much noise on the whiskey world social meds. But if their Field & Sound BiB Bourbon is representative of their quality, they really should.

Founded in 2007, they are the first craft distiller on Long Island, NY, since the 19th century. In 2007, they were the 100th distillery to be open in the United States, a nice round number. Today, of course, there are many hundreds more than that!

The craft whiskey community is well into its boom, with many distilleries founded near and around 2010 now putting out well-aged products—e.g. Breuckelen, Finger Lakes, Redwood Empire, Woodinville, etcetera.

Long Island Spirits established itself among the rarer but increasingly popular farm-to-bottle craft operations. Initially focusing primarily on premium vodkas and liqueurs, they eventually added their Rough Rider and Pine Barren whiskey lines, and, most recently, the Field & Sound Bottled in Bond line.

Long Island Spirits is my favorite kind of craft operation. No pretense. No cutting corners. Everything bottled unfiltered. Ingredients sourced locally. Sweet fermentation, risking variance and demanding heightened attention to detail in an already detailed endeavor. Mindful of both the history and present of their region, in order to craft a truly local product. Like Woodinville in the Pacific Northwest of Washington State, Long Island Spirits is situated in a productive wine region and surrounded by many longstanding family farms. This gives them access to a variety of fresh local grains and fruit, in a maritime agricultural terroir that fills the air with all the natural and flavorful bacteria a whiskey distillery’s open-air fermenting vats could hope for.

I bought this bottle on a whim. The label had the voluntary transparency a whiskey fan appreciates—handwritten batch info, age, mash bill, basic distillation and fermentation style, and a general blurb with no equivocal language whatsoever. It had integrity written all over it. I took it home.

At uncorking, I was immediately impressed by notes of sweet corn, floral rye, fruity barley, butter, lemon, apricot, all stirred into a creamy and comforting porridge-like grain quality. It reminded me very much of some recent Redwood Empire whiskeys, also bottled in bond and made with similar integrity. Curious how it would continue to air out, and still making my way through those similar Redwood Empire bottles, I set it aside for a bit…

And now here we are, nearing three weeks after uncorking and three pours into the bottle. These brief notes were taken using a traditional Glencairn.

COLOR – syrupy amber and burnished brass

NOSE – lemon preserves, apricot preserves, cream, grainy (in a good way) porridge, floral rye herbs

TASTE – gently syrupy, sweet, with Meyer lemon, cooled baked apricot, vanilla caramel, a bit of black pepper, a soft rustic quality to everything

FINISH – the apricot, rye herbs, porridge, black pepper, all lingering medium-short but leaving a lasting warmth in their wake

OVERALL – a lovely, soft, sweet, rustic whiskey conjuring fruit orchards and rural grassy fields

Yep. Very like it was at uncorking. If you enjoy Redwood Empire or Home Base or even Spirits of French Lick whiskeys, you’ll enjoy this. If you’re a fan of fresh country baked goods or the gentle fragrance of wild fields with their many grasses and flowers, you’ll enjoy this. If you like prominent nutty and fruity notes that can come from fresh grains, pour yourself a glass of this.

Field & Sound exemplifies the mature craft whiskey movement. Gone now are the days when “craft” must mean rough, grainy, wood-splintery, immature distillates lacking nuance, depth or finesse. These distilleries I’m mentioning, which seek to highlight rather than hide the grains they use, are together establishing a significant flavor profile category in American whiskey, distinct from the traditionally dominant Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee regional profiles. That this newer, more herbaceous and fruit compote laden profile can be found in whiskeys made on either coast—and with Spirits of French Lick, even in Indiana—suggests it’s less landscape and climate driven and more a matter of process, intention, and perhaps also scale. Could one of the mass operations (e.g. Wild Turkey, Buffalo Trace, Heaven Hill) ever produce anything like Field & Sound or Mattie Gladden or Rocket Top? Not likely.

Not that the big classic distilleries would want to, or should. The point is that a diversity of scale and intention, in addition to region, is useful toward creating a healthy and varied whiskey ecosystem.

I want to drink this bourbon in my garden. I want to drink it at a picnic, alongside a sweet apricot cobbler. I want to sip it as the dry summer sun sets, or, heck, with my morning oatmeal!

And as I write this, the rest of the Field & Sound BiB line—their wheated bourbon, rye, and single malt—seem to have started making their way out to California as well. After I click “save” here, in fact, I’m headed out to pick up a bottle of the Wheated BiB. I look forward to trying them all.


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