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Old Hickory tips its hat to whiskey maker and Former President Andrew Jackson. Founded in 1868, originally in Fayette, Kentucky, the brand has seen some history. Almost thirty years later, Old Hickory moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee. This move essentially became their demise as the foundation for prohibition was making its way across the country. Tennessee banned the production of whiskey in 1910, a mere nine years before the Volstead Act.
With its ups and downs, Old Hickory did not really get its bearings until 2011 when the R.S. Lipman Company resurrected the brand. Old Hickory bourbon and rye were again distilled, however, this time at the old Seagram’s facility in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. One of the most recent releases, ahd what I’m reviewing here, is the Old Hickory Hermitage Reserve, named for Andrew Jackson’s plantation.
While there is an Old Hickory Hermitage Reserve Rye, the latest release cannot be called a bourbon. Instead, the bottle is filled with barrel proof whiskey made of ninety-nine percent corn and one percent malted barley. Although the mash bill technically meets the requirements for bourbon, the Old Hickory Hermitage Reserve Barrel Proof is not matured in brand-new American oak.
The Old Hickory Hermitage Reserve Barrel Proof is aged in former 18-year-old bourbon barrels. Although the age statement is ten years, the majority of this release is about 13-years-old. While it may not be the first American whiskey to mature solely in refill casks, it will not be the last.
Tasting Notes: Old Hickory Hermitage Reserve Barrel Proof
Vital Stats: 58.5% ABV, 117 proof. Distilled in Lawrenceburg, IN, and bottled by Old Hickory Spirits in Silverton, OH. Matured 10 years in 18-year-old ex-bourbon barrels with a mash bill of 99% corn and 1% malted barley.
Nose: The whiskey instantly hits the nose with bold butterscotch and sandalwood. The middle layer is surrounded by the fresh-baked aroma of cornbread. The dram is rich with fruit scents of lemon peel, black cherry, and green apple.
Palate: The mouthfeel is starchy soft and oily with a bit of warmth. Juicy, ripe strawberry and vanilla engage the tastebuds with a bold punch. The whiskey is starchy from the corn but it lends a hand to the nuttiness found throughout. Marzipan and graham cracker linger in the background, but they fully come out at the end of the sip. The proof hits just right; any lower brings out more of the oak and it becomes lackluster.
Whiskey Review: Old Hickory Hermitage Reserve Barrel Proof
The high quality of the Old Hickory Hermitage Reserve Barrel Proof is noticeable. While it is on the sweeter side, I find it balanced with spice, stone fruit, and oak. It is quite delicious and I will be keeping this on my list of whiskeys to have on my shelf.
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Courtney Kristjana is a leading whiskey taster in the country. She left a career in Gerontology after an article on Heather Greene inspired her to follow her passion for whiskey. She is studying to become a Master of Scotch and someday hopes she is nominated for the Keepers of the...