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Orphan Barrel Indigo's Hour




Whiskey Review: Orphan Barrel Indigo’s Hour

Tasting Notes:

An 18-year-old American bourbon distilled in Indiana, aged in Kentucky, and bottled in Tennessee. Bottled at 45% ABV and priced at $225.
There’s a nice moderate amber color in this glass, with well-defined legs and viscosity.
This bourbon’s nose up front features a lot of vanilla and caramel, showcasing secondary notes of cinnamon, oak, a subtle hint of black pepper, dark chocolate, and warming spices.
So what’s going on here in the palate is just ok. You notice a good amount of oak overshadowing an accompanying vanilla note. Beyond this, there’s some green apple, cinnamon, sour Jolly Ranchers, bubble gum, and a subtle drop of black pepper.
The finish on this is decent but not overly exciting, lingering with a bit of sweetness for a while.
Orphan Barrel’s Indigo Hour holds up decently for an 18-year-old bourbon, but given its age statement, it’s not in the stellar category. Things are off here and there enough to make it one of my least favorite Orphan Barrel offerings.
Orphan Barrel Indigo's Hour review
We review Orphan Barrel Indigo’s Hour, an 18-year-old American bourbon distilled in Indiana, aged in Kentucky, and bottled in Tennessee. (image via Diageo)

Editor’s Note: We received a review sample of this whiskey from the brand. However, in accordance with our editorial policies, this has not influenced the outcome of our review in any way.

Orphan Barrel has long been a brand for spirits giant Diageo to compete in the space of collectible American whiskeys (mostly bourbon) often dominated by Heaven Hill and Buffalo Trace. So-called “nearly forgotten barrels of delicious whiskey” find their way into more pricey offerings, often with age statements pushing the higher end of what bourbon can normally be enjoyed without becoming an oak bomb due to overaging in barrel.

The Orphan Barrel project for Diageo is run out of Tullahoma, Tennessee, which plays host to Cascade Hollow Distilling, also known as the home of George Dickel (another Diageo brand).

What’s in the bottle

The latest Orphan Barrel offering to hit the market, and the subject of this review, is Indigo’s Hour. This one is a bit of a curiosity in that it is an 18-year-old bourbon with three states under its belt during its production lifespan. It was distilled in Indiana (likely MGP), aged in Kentucky (likely at Stitzel Weller), and bottled in Tennessee (Cascade Hollow).

Produced from a mash bill of 68% corn, 28% rye, and 4% malt, it was aged in new charred white oak barrels before being bottled at 45% ABV.

The bottle design, as noted by Diageo, “pays homage to the spirit’s origin story – drawing inspiration from the crops, flora and fauna native to the heartlands of America’s whiskey regions. The spirit animal is the Pipevine Swallowtail, the most colorful butterfly to call Indiana home, where this rare whiskey is distilled. Part of the label was inspired by The Witches Tree, a legendary maple tree found in Louisville, KY just a few minutes away from where Indigo’s Hour was aged. The landscapes depicted in the background were inspired by the creek that sits amongst the rivers and marshlands in Cascade Hollow, Tullahoma, Tennessee, where Indigo’s Hour was bottled.”

“Indigo’s Hour is perfect for those who appreciate the complex flavors and craft behind American-bourbon making,” said Diageo Master Blender Andrew Mackay when it was released. “Its liquid and bottle label symbolizes how the Orphan Barrel collection continues to evolve from its predecessors, making it a true collectible for those who appreciate fine spirits and rare whiskies.”

Indigo’s Hour is priced at $225 per 750 ml bottle and was made in “only one highly-limited batch.” The name was inspired “by the time of day, which we call Indigo’s Hour, between dusk and dark when the sky is at its most beautiful.”

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the former founder of The Whiskey Wash, an award-winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y globally. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert, and judge, he has written extensively about the subject, been interviewed in various media outlets, and provided tasting input on many whiskeys at competitions.

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