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Old Hickory tips its hat to the whiskey maker and Former President Andrew Jackson. Founded in 1868, originally in Fayette, Kentucky, the brand has had some history. Nearly thirty years later, Old Hickory moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee. This decision essentially led to their demise as the foundations of Prohibition made their way across the country. Tennessee banned whiskey production in 1910just nine years before the Volstead Act.
With its ups and downs, Old Hickory didn’t really come into its own until 2011, when the RS Lipman Company resurrected the brand. Old Hickory bourbon and rye have been distilled again, this time at Seagram’s former facilities in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. One of the newer versions, and what I’m reviewing here, is the Old Hickory Hermitage Preserve, named after Andrew Jackson’s plantation.
Although there is an Old Hickory Hermitage Reserve Rye, the latest version cannot be called bourbon. Instead, the bottle is filled with cask whiskey made from 99% corn and 1% malted barley. Although the mash bill technically meets bourbon requirements, Old Hickory Hermitage Reserve Barrel Proof is not matured in brand new American oak.
THE Old Hickory Hermitage Reserve Barrel Proof is aged in 18 year old ex-bourbon barrels. Although the stated age is ten years old, the majority of this version is around 13 years old. While this may not be the first American whiskey to age solely in refill barrels, it won’t 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. Aged for 10 years in 18-year-old 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 freshly baked aroma of cornbread. The whiskey is rich in fruity aromas of lemon peel, black cherry and green apple.
Palace: The mouthfeel is starchy, sweet and oily with a bit of heat. Juicy, ripe strawberry and vanilla engage the taste buds with a bold punch. The whiskey is starchy from the corn, but it gives a helping hand to the nutty flavor found throughout. The marzipan and graham crackers linger in the background, but they come out fully at the end of the sip. The proof is perfect; any lower level makes the oak stand out more and it becomes dull.