“It’s developed a huge cult following,” said Richard Stabile, who opened the Baiting Hollow-based distillery in 2008. “The third batch is basically all gone.”
Inspired by the Long Island Central Pine Barrens, a 100,000-acre stretch of publicly protected plant community in Suffolk County, Pine Barrens contains Old Howling Bastard, Blue Point Brewing Company’s strongest beer, as its base (conventional = in-house mash). The 10.0% ABV, boozy-sweet barleywine is converted using double-distillation (yielding a final proof of 95) and a one-year aging process within new, 10-gallon American oak casks.
“We use smaller casks to age Pine Barrens, which increases surface area and allows more contact between the oak and whisky,” said Stabile. “It speeds up the maturation process and gives a smooth, velvet taste.”
Long Island Spirits released Pine Barrens’ first life in April 2012. Stabile expects to bottle the fourth batch in October.