May 18 is World Whiskey Day! To celebrate this international day of the classic distilled beverage, we wanted to highlight some of the locally crafted whiskeys you can find from two distilleries here in Albany County: New Scotland Spirits and Albany Distilling Co.

New Scotland Spirits 

Helderberg Whiskies

Each aged in charred white oak barrels for a minimum of 5 years, enjoy the delicious taste of New Scotland Spirits' Helderberg Winter Wheat Whiskey, Helderberg Straight Rye Whiskey, or Helderberg Bourbon. 

The Winter Wheat Whiskey is a celebration of enduring a northeast winter; the wheat distilled to create the drink is a strong grain, annually surviving the season. A sip of this whiskey is like the sweet start of spring with a sweeter flavor profile from the grains' sugars.

The Straight Rye Whiskey harvests the spirit of New York, Albany County, and the Helderberg Escarpment. Considered a New York Empire Rye, this whiskey is created from grains found at the base of the Helderbeg Escarpment. 

The Helderberg Bourbon is a toast to the spirit of New Scotland. The whiskey was created in 2018 and inspired by an early 2000's movement in New Scotland protesting the development of a large store atop the historic Bender Melon Farm. Original plans to organize against the development were made over bourbon in a barn and so, the Helderberg Bourbon was created as a testament to the spirit of the town's rural identity.


A whiskey crafted to honor our soldiers and veterans, the spirit was first launched on Veterans Day 2022 and a portion of the profits go to support the clinical treatment of alcoholism, drug addiction, and mental health issues in America’s veteran community. The drink is named for the 68W (sixty-eight Whiskey using the NATO phonetic alphabet) an Army Combat Medic who provides emergency medical treatment on the frontlines. The whiskey is made from American corn and has a clear and sharp flavor profile. 

Limited Edition Whiskies

Not sold in stores, the Empire Rye Whiskey, Single Malt Whiskey, and Bonded Bourbon Whiskey are limited edition spirits and can be found at the New Scotland Spirits Tasting Room set to open June 2024. 

Following rigorous criteria to be considered an Empire Rye, the Empire Rye Whiskey is a celebration of New York State, crafted in the capital county of the Empire State. 

Considered the distillery's flagship spirit, the Helderberg Single Malt Whiskey is crafted from 100% malted barley harvested from Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont. Like the distillery's other Helderberg Whiskies, this spirit was distilled for half a decade in a new charred oak barrel and offers a smoky flavor profile. 

Awarded gold from the Beverage Testing Institute, the Bonded Bourbon Whiskey was released in 2022 in celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Bonded in Bond Act of 1897. This legislation enforced rigid standards of whiskey integrity. The spirit is the strongest offering from New Scotland Spirits bottled at 100 proof. Offering flavors of orange, cherry, and toasted bread, the bourbon tastes delicious in dark, seasonal cocktails. 

Learn more about each spirit here!  

Albany Distilling Co. 

Ironweed Whiskeys

Sip on whiskey from the first licensed distillery established in Albany since prohibition! The first product the Albany Distilling Co. created was a whiskey. The distillers began with a bourbon mash first releasing it as a new make and eventually as a three-month-bourbon. Over a decade later, whiskey from Albany Distilling Co. has remained a popular product throughout the region.

The distillery's Ironweed Whiskeys are a nod to Albany's literary history. Ironweed is a 1983 pulitizer prize winning novel written by Albany native William Kennedy. Kennedy grew up in the North Albany neighborhood where Albany Distilling Co. stands today and some of the scenes written in the novel take place in the area.

The three Ironweed Whiskeys: Ironweed Bourbon, Ironweed Rye, and Ironweed Straight Malt are each mashed, fermented, distilled, and bottled by Albany Distilling Co. They are each comprised of New York State sourced grain and aged in freshly charred oak. 

Learn more about each product here