American Whiskey - Bourbon

Hillrock Estate Distillery Solera Aged Bourbon Whiskey

From: New York, United States Liquor Review Category: Bourbon American Whiskey

Bottle/Rating Data

Rating Description

99th Percentile
This score falls in the 99th percentile of all spirits in the Whiskey category and is an example of the very best in its class.
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Proof66 Notes

Hillrock Solera aged bourbon is their first whiskey release and is the idea of Master Distiller David Pickerell. Solera aging involves never fully emptying the oldest cask of whiskey but refilling it from the next oldest and blending before bottling. The bourbon itself is a blend of corn and rye with the rye said to be "about" 37% (difficult to tell in a solera model). In this way, a small part of any bottle will have a tiny bit of very, very old whiskey. (We always think of it like gas in your car... there may be a little tiny bit of the first tank of gas still in there "blending" with the most recent fill-up.) The blend began with "seed bourbon" from Oloroso (Spanish) sherry casks that a New York Times write-up mentions averaged 6 years old. Presumably, these "seed bourbons" will be present in some degree for all time though most pronounced, obviously, in the very first editions. They suggest looking for notes of caramel, vanilla, and dried fruit (all common with bourbon) but also clove and cinnamon.

The 2013 Beverage Testing Institute--perhaps longing for breakfast--found aromas of "toasty Belgian waffles with berry compote and whipped cream." They recommended it with cigars believing it "woody" and complex.

About the Producer:

Hillrock Estate Distillery was founded by Jeff Baker and located in the Hudson Valley of New York State, which they describe as having a legacy of American grain. The distillery is located at Hillrock House, restored in 2006 amidst their own grain fields. To this legacy, Hillrock is a true "grain to glass" distillery where they mill and ferment their own estate-grown grain before distilling in a custom-made copper pot still. The grain is raised without chemical interference and adherence to organic methods. In an even more unusual move, they "floor malt" their own grain, which means wetting and turning the grain in order for the grain to flower before drying and "freezing" the resulting sugars in the grain. Baker comes from a multi-decade farming background and a long advocate of local produce and vertical integration.

Rabble Reviews

This bottle has 2 ratings and 2 reviews.
shonobiwan shonobiwan (2) (2014-08-16)
Good craft whiskey
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Memphis Memphis (14) (2014-07-01)
I bought this bottle as a result of the strong scores it has been getting. For perspective, I know have around 40 bottles in my collection. I am trying to be a bourbon purist and avoiding whiskys finished in another type of barrel. In my opinion these are flavored whiskys, and may be delicious, but are not purely bourbon. I am not sure if this bottle is intending to always have a Sherry flavoring or not. In terms a flavor, this is quite delicious. Nicely sweet in the front and not too strong. I can pick up hints of the fruit mentioned in the description above. The description indicates a high Rye component which I don't usually like. However I don't taste the Rye at all, I would say this is wheated. The Rye normally provides a spice in the backend of high rye mashbills, but is not evident at all here. As a result this is very smooth and rates up there with my favorites. So the question comes, how many stars? If this is a relative score then you the reader have to evaluate my other scores to see what a four or five means from me to calibrate that to your own sense. For example, one reviewer of Jesse James bourbon gave it a five despite its usually very low scores. That reviewer was just ecstatic to be drinking something other than Tequilla which is what all his other reviews had been. Also, if the score is relative, what if I find another bourbon I like better, I cant give the new one a six? One solution that could work is to give the number of stars equal to the price you would be willing to pay for the bottle, $10 equals one star, $30 equals three stars, etcetera. However this bottle is $80 and I am a cheapskate. In this case I would give it a six or seven, which is excellent, but below the $80 it costs. A note to Proof66 staff, it would be nice to be able to vote 0 stars for something that I would not buy at all. Also would be nice to have more stars to pick from.
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