Maple season is a special time of year in NH. The dormancy of the bitter cold winter weather begins to shake off, and mountain snow-melt swells the watertable. As the state starts to thaw, the circulatory systems of trees kick back into high gear. Cold nights and warmer days are the perfect ebb and flow of Sugar Maple trees. Their activity is even visible by a natural warming effect, often seen first as a radiating melt ring in the surrounding ground snow.
Another bit of wood sugar magic that begins to take shape is barrel aging. This is particularly true with apple brandy which was pressed, fermented, distilled and barreled as the Autumn’s cold removes leaves from the area trees. Traditionally, “Applejacking” (an extremely common household practice in colonial New England) was the result of freezing hard cider to concentrate the alcoholic content. This was also considered “cold-distilling,” even though there was no distillation apparatus necessary besides hard cider, a good study barrel and Mother Nature. At Tamworth Distilling, we just so happen to have a piece of technology to help our process: an alembic still, complete with a ‘brandy helmet.’ This has a traditional brandy shape, modeled after French Cognac stills to historically promote ample fruit flavor and aroma during distillation. Our iconic still shape helps preserve the source ingredient’s integrity: 100% New Hampshire apples.
These two, very local ingredients go together famously: Maple and Apple. We use Maple syrup from the TDM land, stretching along the little Swift River that flows behind our barrelhouse. We also supplement syrup from Remick Farm Museum (our neighbors from across the street). It is safe to say, this is a classic Tamworth treat.