Whiskey Reviews: West Fork Whiskey Old Hamer - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Reviews: West Fork Whiskey Old Hamer

Editor’s Note: These whiskeys were provided to us as review samples by West Fork Whiskey Co. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy links towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

Old Hamer is a brand that goes back to 1825. Hugh and Thomas Hamer may have had the “finest whiskey around” in the 19th century and now its been resurrected by West Fork Whiskey Co. Making a whiskey that’s ninety-nine percent corn and one percent malted barley is what the Hamer family would have done and what supposedly makes a “great Indiana whiskey“.

We’ll never know how much the new Old Hamer is like the abandoned brand but I think it’s pretty cool that it’s been brought back to life. Too often we think it has to be something new when looking back into the archives can inspire us that an old recipe is worth repeating.

If drinking straight bourbon or rye whiskey is too much, Old Hamer makes a play with Cold Hamer canned cocktails. They are a refreshing, low calorie cocktail alternative. There’s not many other brands that are offering ready to go canned cocktails in the United States.

West Fork Whiskey Co has many other spirits besides the Old Hamer name. The company is all about using local spirits and using the local resources of Indiana.

Old Hamer

The Old Hamer line up (image via Melissa Jones/The Whiskey Wash)

Tasting Notes: Old Hamer Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Vital Stats: 80 proof; 99% corn, 1% malted barley; Aged 2 years; Distilled, aged, and bottled in Indiana

Appearance: Auburn

Nose: Citrus and solvent forward but not too strong. It has a very soft smell of fresh baked goods with vanilla and spices.

Palate: There’s a spicy mouth feel that gives your tongue a big hug. The flavors are sweet with molasses and citrus and a little bite of anise. A little like a freshly baked lemon cake.

Final Thoughts: The finish is better than the start but overall didn’t have a unique flavor. A good bourbon at a cheaper price but I wanted it to be a little richer. Perhaps with a little more aging it will be amazing. Two years is a little young.

Score: 3/5

Tasting Notes: Old Hamer Straight Bourbon Whiskey Cask Strength

Vital Stats: 116 proof; 99% corn, 1% malted barley; Aged 2 years; Distilled, aged, and bottled in Indiana

Appearance: Mahogany with henna notes

Nose: It’s a very potent, strong bourbon, which is no surprise for cask strength. There’s not a lot of character in the nose, especially without some water. Reminds me of something fresh baked; warm and sweet.

Palate: The palate is much like the Old Hamer Straight Bourbon Whiskey but stronger. To me, it’s better with a little water as not to blow out your nose and taste buds. It’s a little like a creme brulee dessert as it’s sweet with vanilla, caramel and citrus with a spicer, crisp finish.

Final Thoughts: The more I drank the Old Hamer Straight Bourbon Whiskey the more I liked it. I’m not usually a fan of cask strength but because of the sweetness of this one I did start to enjoy it. For only two years old I think it’s fairly smooth and sweet. I am curious what it will be like aged a little bit longer.

Score: 3/5

Tasting Notes: Old Hamer Straight Rye Whiskey

Vital Stats: 90 proof; 51% rye, 45% corn, 4% malted barley; Aged 2 years; Distilled, aged, and bottled in Indiana.

Appearance: Auburn

Nose: Old Hamer Straight Rye Whiskey is sweet, light, and floral. It doesn’t have your typical rye smell. I’m reminded of breakfast with the very sweet, maple smells.

Palate: This rye was very pleasant from start to finish. It wasn’t overwhelming but a medium mouth feel with subtle flavors of leather, orange and maple.

Final Thoughts: The flavors were simple and not very complex. It was fresh, yet had an old soul, and very sweet even for a rye.

Score: 4.5/5

Tasting Notes: Old Hamer Straight Rye Whiskey Cask Strength

Vital Stats: 119 proof; 51% rye, 45% corn, 4% malted barley; Aged 2 years; Distilled, aged, and bottled in Indiana.

Appearance: Mahogany

Nose: There’s a sweet smell of butterscotch and herbs.

Palate: This cask strength rye is very hot on the tongue. Much like the 90 proof rye this takes like maple syrup but a hot and spicy one. It’s simple and high proof like a sweet lava.

Final Thoughts: I feel this would be a great breakfast rye. It might be best served over your pancakes. For me, I really needed it to have a little water to get past the heat. I know that some might prefer the heat with the sweet.

Score: 3.5/5

Tasting Notes: Cold Hamer Snap Back

Vital Stats: Old Hamer bourbon, ginger, and lime; ABV 7%; Calories 170; 11g sugar; 12g carbs.

Final Thoughts: I thought this one was much better than the High Ball. It had a nice ginger flavor. It was sweet and refreshing. Perfect for a warm summer day. I’d definitely choose this over a can of beer anyday.

Score: 4/5

Tasting Notes: Cold Hamer High Ball

Vital Stats: Old Hamer bourbon, soda, and lemon; ABV 7%; No added sugar; 0 carbs.

Final Thoughts: This was a nice classic cocktail. It’s easy to drink and no bartending is required. It’s not as refreshing to me as the Snap Back but also not as sweet. It would be great for porch cocktail or BBQ. I might add a slice of lemon for a little more zest.

Score: 3/5


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